Vodafone Group and Aditya Birla Group announce leadership team

23 March, 2018 | The Economic Times

Vodafone Group and Aditya Birla Group have appointed Balesh Sharma as chief executive officer (CEO) of an entity c;reated by the merger of their local telecom units, which will become India’s largest mobile phone operator by subscriber and revenue market share and be better placed to compete in a market savaged by price competition.

Sharma will be responsible for the business strategy and execution as well as driving integration of the merged Vodafone India-Idea Cellular entities, the two companies said Thursday in a joint statement. The Aditya Birla Group intends to nominate current MD Himanshu Kapania as non- executive Board member of the merged entity, while Vodafone India CEO Sunil Sood will join the Vodafone Group (Africa, Middle East, Asia, Pacific) leadership team.

Some of the other key leaders of the merged company will include Akshaya Moondra as chief financial officer (CFO), who till now was CFO for Idea Cellular BSE 0.19 % and Ambrish Jain, currently deputy managing director at Idea, who will be responsible for circles operations and service delivery.

While Suvamoy Roy Choudhury, who leads Vodafone India’s human resources (HR), will be responsible for overall HR functions, Sashi Shankar, currently chief marketing officer (CMO) at Idea, will overlook the marketing and the brand strategy for the consumer business of the combined business.

“The team has extensive operational experience and is an excellent blend of expertise from both companies. We look forward to the completion of the merger and competing as one company in the marketplace," said Aditya Birla Group, chairman, Kumar Mangalam Birla and Vodafone Group, chief executive, Vittorio Colao.

Mr. Birla would be the non-executive chairman of the Board of directors of the merged Company.

Both parties however pointed out that till the merger happens the existing leadership team of Idea Cellular, under Kapania, and Vodafone India, under Sood, will continue to manage their separate businesses and be accountable for each company’s operational performance until the merger becomes effective.

"It is only upon completion that the two businesses will cease to operate as distinct and competing entities," said the joint statement. The merger is widely expected to be completed by May. It needs foreign direct investment (FDI) clearance from the government which needs to be followed by an approval from the Department of Telecommunications.

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