Industry veteran to concentrate on subsea business, which aims to exit bankruptcy protection this year and find a new owner

Bill Barney has resigned from his position as chief executive of India’s Reliance Communications (RCom) in order to concentrate his efforts on the telco’s subeas cable subsidiary Global Cloud Xchange (GCX) subsidiary, where he serves as chairman and CEO.

“With GCX’s recent voluntary Chapter 11 filing, it will be in the best interest of both RCom and GCX for me to step down at this time to focus on [the] GCX restructuring," Barney said, in a statement.

"Upon emergence from this process, GCX expects to be well-positioned to aggressively pursue our business plan independent of the overhang caused by our corporate parent’s challenges," he added.

Hampered by RCom’s difficulties in emerging from a bankruptcy process of its own in India, GCX filed for Chapter 11 earlier this month, detailing a reorganisation plan designed to help it reduce bond debt, sort out its working capital and effectively sell itself to a new owner.

There has been little news on that last point since the filing. The company says that 75% of its lenders have committed to supporting the plan, which would see its bondholders take ownership of GCX and provide new loans to support its growth. However, in Tuesday’s announcement it also reiterated that it intends to use the Chapter 11 framework "to undertake a sale process that welcomes additional prospective buyers."

New buyer or otherwise, GCX expects to emerge from Chapter 11 under Barney’s guidance by the end of the year.

Industry veteran Barney took the helm of RCom’s subsea cable business then known as Reliance Globalcom at the start of 2014; it rebranded as GCX a matter of weeks later. He was appointed co-CEO of RCom, alongside Gurdeep Singh, in October 2016, shortly after RCom brokered its ill-fated joint venture agreement with Aircel. It was the failure of the Aircel tie-up, which fell foul of Indian regulatory red tape, that led to RCom calling time on its mobile business, then announcing its decsion to pull out of telecoms altogether, and ultimately filing for insolvency earlier this year.

RCom’s insolvency proceedings are still ongoing.