Telecom Veteran Arun Sarin, MBA 78, Receives Honorary Knighthood

Arun Sarin, MBA 78, MS 78 (Material Sci. and Eng.), former CEO of Vodafone, was named an Honorary Knight of the British Empire earlier this month for services to the communications industry.

The knighthood is part of the UK honors system that recognizes exceptional achievement and service to the nation. It is one of the highest achievements for an individual in the UK.

"Arun embodies the visionary type of leadership that the Haas School strives to cultivate in its students," says Dean Richard Lyons. "We congratulate him on this well-deserved honor."

Sarin is the second Haas alumnus to receive honorary knighthood, following the late Cho-Ming Li, MBA 33, PhD 36, who was a professor at the Haas School and the first vice-chancellor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1963.

Foreign recipients of the honorary knighthood have made an important contribution to relations between their country and Britain. Other recipients also include former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Francois Mitterrand, former president of France.

Sarin, a US citizen, is currently a San Francisco Bay Area-based senior adviser to asset management firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. His career began in 1984 at Pacific Telesis Group, where he pioneered the expansion of the mobile communications industry. He went on to become president and COO of wireless spinoff AirTouch Communications in 1997.

Sarin became CEO of Vodafone’s US/Asia Pacific region after the 1999 merger of AirTouch and Vodafone, which became the world's second-largest mobile phone company. He served as CEO of Vodafone from 2003 to 2008, overseeing the firm's expansion into emerging markets including India, Ghana, Romania, and Qatar.

Sarin was named the Haas School's Business Leader of the Year in 2002 for his outstanding contributions to the business of telecommunications and to the school. He is a member of the Haas School's advisory board.

Prior to his graduate studies at Berkeley, Sarin received his BS in engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology. He is a member of the boards of directors of Cisco Systems and Safeway. He has served on numerous boards in the past, including Gap and Charles Schwab, and as a non-executive director of the Court of the Bank of England.

To watch a video of Sarin talking on leadership at the Haas School in April 2009, visit