As a part of major rejig in management team of its India unit, UK-based Vodafone Group has reportedly replaced its India Chief Operating Officer Naveen Chopra with Balesh Sharma, who has been heading the Czech Republic operations as chief executive officer since 2013.
Sharma has been working with Vodafone since 2011. Before taking up the responsibility for Czech Republic operations, he served the company in Malta, Delhi and Bangalore markets.
Previously, Sharma worked with companies like BPL Mobile and Xerox.
The development comes at a time when the company is facing stiff competition from Reliance Jio as well as market leader Bharti Airtel.
According to an Economic Times report, Balesh Sharma will take over from Chopra from April 1.
Chopra, who has been the company’s India COO since 2015, was earlier serving the company as the head of its enterprise arm, Vodafone Business Service. His next role is yet to be announced by the company, the report said.
The report further added Vodafone India is “further streamlining its structure by integrating its commercial functions with operations, both of which will be under Sharma.” This move is expected to help India’s No 2 telco to speed up decision making and be agile to counter competition.
As part of the restricting, Vodafone India’s current commercial head Sandeep Kataria will now report into Balesh Sharma.
Vodafone India, which currently has 205 million subscribers in India, is being headed by Sunil Sood, who is the Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of India unit.
The restructuring comes at a time when the telco is in merger talks with Aditya Birla Group-owned Idea Cellular. Vodafone’s merger with Idea Cellular would create India’s leading telecom operator with 390 million users, exceeding current market leader Bharti Airtel’s 266 million.
The merged entity will also be largest by revenue market share, according to analysts.