The Board of merged telecom operator Vodafone Idea on Monday announced that it had accepted Balesh Sharma’s request to step down as chief executive officer (CEO) of Vodafone Idea for personal reasons.
Ravinder Takkar, currently Vodafone Group’s representative in India, will be appointed as his successor with immediate effect. Over the past one year, Vodafone Idea has continued to be plagued by rapidly falling stock prices, dropping from Rs 32 same time last year to Rs 5.99 on the BSE when markets closed on Monday.
Sharma will be taking up a new role with Vodafone Group, which will be announced later. He has been the CEO of Vodafone Idea since the completion of the merger of the two telcos in August 2018. Prior to that, he was the chief operating officer of Vodafone India. He has also overseen the successful integration of Vodafone Idea, resulting in the estimated timescale to complete the integration process.
Sharma has driven the strategy of the combined business since its formation and has also spearheaded the largest-ever equity raise in India.
Balesh SharmaVodafone Idea has lately received considerable flak for failing to turn around the minimum recharge strategy that was introduced by both Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel around the same time last year. Airtel tapped the opportunity to improve average revenue per user and reduce subscriber churn, unlike Vodafone Idea.
Ravinder Takkar, an 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 that he took on in 2017. Before that, Ravinder 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 brings a wealth of experience in the telecom industry having worked in several leadership positions across Vodafone’s operating companies over the past 25 years.
Ravinder 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 was the CEO of the enterprise business.