The month of August is witnessing some major events that are worth creating a milestone in the history of the telecom industry. As the news of the JioFibre Launch was sinking in, the industry was banged with another news that came as a surprise to many. Late last evening, it was known that the Board of Vodafone Idea Limited accepted Balesh Sharma’s request for personal reasons to step down as CEO of Vodafone Idea.
But, it looks like Sharma will not be totally disconnected from Vodafone. He will be taking up a new role with Vodafone Group, which will be announced in due course.
Ravinder Takkar, currently Vodafone Group’s representative in India, will be appointed as his successor with immediate effect.
Sharma has been the CEO of Vodafone Idea since the completion of the merger, and prior to that
was Chief Operating Officer of Vodafone India. He has overseen the successful integration of
Vodafone Idea – resulting in the estimated timescale to complete the integration falling from four
to just two years.
Sharma has driven the strategy of the combined business since its formation and
he has also spearheaded the largest-ever equity raise in India.
On the sidelines, the stock market observers have reported that the shares of Vodafone Idea have slipped by 6%, with the sudden resignation of Sharma. Stock market reports say that over the past year, Vodafone Idea has been faced with falling stock prices, dropping by 83%.
Ravinder Takkar, an equally experienced global executive, is currently a Board member of Vodafone Idea and Indus Towers, where he is responsible for all Vodafone Group interests in India, a role which
he took on in 2017.
Prior to his current role, Takkar was the CEO of Vodafone Romania for three
years and CEO of Vodafone Partner Markets in London. He has been with Vodafone Group since
1994 and possesses a wealth of experience in the telecom industry having worked in several leadership
positions across Vodafone’s operating companies over the last 25 years.
Takkar has been involved in the Indian telecom industry since 2007 when Vodafone Group
entered the Indian market. He has held a number of senior roles in Strategy and Business
Development and he was CEO of the Enterprise business.
Commenting about the developments, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman Aditya Birla Group and Vodafone Idea Limited, said, “I would like to thank Balesh for his leadership and the successful integration of the two businesses. Under Balesh’s stewardship, Vodafone Idea has realised a significant proportion of the synergies in a much shorter timescale than originally estimated. I wish him every success in his next role. I am pleased to welcome Ravinder Takkar as our new MD & CEO. Ravinder is well versed with the Vodafone Idea business context and I am confident that he will successfully steer the company through the next phase of development and help unlock its full potential.”