After months of speculation rife with controversy and close encounters a key breakthrough was made in Vodafone-Idea Merger. Vodafone India and Idea Cellular which are in the process of a merger, on Thursday outlined the key leadership team which will head the merged entity. This move was long overdue after the entry of the market shaker Jio which had forced many of the smaller players out of business and made the bigger ones rethink their strategy.

There were some key points to the statements released by both the Companies. Vodafone Group and Aditya Birla Group have appointed Balesh Sharma, the CEO of the merged entity of Idea Cellular and Vodafone India. Sharma till now was the chief operating officer COO of Vodafone India.

“Balesh Sharma will be responsible for the combined business’s strategy and its execution as well as driving integration,” said both companies in separate but similar statements.

Kumar Mangalam Birla will be the non-executive Chairman of the new entity. “Mr Kumar Mangalam Birla would be the non-executive chairman of the Board of Directors of the merged company,” a statement said.

“The Aditya Birla Group intends to nominate Himanshu Kapania (currently Idea Cellular MD) as the non-executive Board member of the merged entity…with a significant assignment in the Group post-merger,” it added.

The other key management positions appointed include – Akshaya Moondra, currently Chief Financial Officer at Idea who will be CFO of the merged entity.

Nick Gliddon, currently Director – Vodafone Business Services at Vodafone India, will be responsible for the Enterprise Busines. COO – Ambrish Jain, currently Deputy Managing Director at Idea, will be responsible for Circles Operations and Service Delivery.

The two telcos said that Manish Dawar, currently CFO of Vodafone India, will have overall responsibility for integration planning, governance and execution.

While Sashi Shankar, currently Chief Marketing Officer at Idea, will be responsible for marketing and brand strategy for the consumer business, Vishant Vora, currently Chief Technology Officer of Vodafone India, will have responsibility for networks and overall technology strategy.

Prakash Paranjape, currently Chief Information Officer at Idea, will be responsible for the company’s IT operations, said both companies.

Navanit Narayan, currently Chief Service Delivery Officer at Idea, will be in charge of Strategy and P Balaji, currently, Vodafone India’s Head of Regulatory, External Affairs and CSR, will be responsible for Corporate and External Affairs.

Suvamoy Roy Choudhury, who leads Vodafone India’s Human Resources, will be responsible for the Human Resources function for merged entity while Kavita Nair currently the Associate Director, Commercial Operations, at Vodafone India, will lead digital transformation across all functions.

According to both telcos Rajesh Srivastava, currently, Chief Commercial Officer at Idea will hold charge of the Procurement Function.

The legal counsel of merged business will be taken over by Kumar Das, Vodafone India’s General Counsel will lead the legal function.

The merged entity is yet to receive the final approval from the department of telecommunications. It has already received approval from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

With this move the merged entity aims at dominating a market disrupted by the Jio Infocomm Ltd. with its free voice calls and low tariff internet. Vodafone-Idea would become the world’s second largest and India’s largest telecom firm in terms of subscribers overtaking Bharti Airtel Ltd. With this the market would become a three-way competition, what remains to be seen is how effectively does this merger use its user-base to counter the meteoric rise of Jio Infocomm.

With PTI inputs


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