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Balesh Sharma steps down as CEO of Vodafone Idea; Ravinder Takkar to take over

Ravinder Takkar will be appointed as the new MD and CEO with immediate effect, the company said in a statement.

ET Bureau|
Updated: Aug 20, 2019, 08.24 AM IST
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Vodafone Idea CEO Balesh Sharma steps down; Ravinder Takkar to take over
Vodafone Idea CEO Balesh Sharma steps down; Ravinder Takkar to take over
NEW DELHI: Ravinder Takkar, an old hand at Vodafone Group, will be taking the reins of Vodafone Idea Ltd as chief executive officer with immediate effect after Balesh Sharma having quit for personal reasons.

Takkar has been with Vodafone Group for over 25 years and has worked in several leadership positions across Vodafone’s operating companies, the latest of which was being CEO of Vodafone Romania for three years and CEO of Vodafone partner markets in London.

In the lead up to the merger, Vodafone had got in Takkar, besides outgoing Vodafone India MD Sunil Sood, to move things along within the company and outside it. He is not new to the Indian telecom sector either. He has closely watched the Indian industry since 2007 when Vodafone Group entered the Indian market.

It could be this knowledge of the market that can help the company claw back its position and market share, which Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel are aggressively wanting to take away. Besides cut-throat competition, sector watchers feel that Vodafone Idea’s selective 4G strategy may not help, market share loss may continue and it may lose another 70 million subscribers over the next 18 months.

The concerns are more than just loss of business for the company. "We don’t rule out the possibility of Vodafone Idea slowing down capex given balance sheet constraints and considering shutting down a few circles (possibly the loss-making circles) in an attempt to focus on the important markets," said SBICaps Securities in a note to clients.

Takkar 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.

During the decade, he has held a number of senior roles in strategy and business development and he was CEO of the enterprise business of the company. He’s one of the key people overlooking the integration process, Takkar is part of the team that handles matters with the echelons of Indian government officials, sources said.
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