Meet Balesh Sharma, who will be the CEO of Vodafone-Idea merged entity

Balesh Sharma
United Kingdom-based Vodafone Group and Aditya Birla Group have appointed Balesh Sharma as the chief executive officer (CEO) of the merged entity to be created as the local units of the two telecom majors come together for the India market. The appointment of Sharma has not come as a surprise to Vodafone employees, who have seen him taking control of the day-to-day functions of the company over the past year as its chief operating officer (COO).

According to several employees of the company, over the past year or so, Sharma was the man responsible for running the company, with Vodafone India CEO Sunil Sood taking a backseat for routine activities. When everybody was guessing about the CEO of the new entity, there were a few people in Vodafone who were sure about Sharma taking the reins of the new company.

Sharma, having worked in different positions for over 25 years, has been a Vodafone veteran. He was specially called to India in April 2017 as COO from the Czech Republic. The idea behind his shift was to make sure that he gets comfortable with Indian business before taking the big role for steering the combined entity.

He joined Vodafone (then Hutch) in 2003 and over the years, has held several senior management positions in India and internationally, including as the business head of Gujarat Circle and as the CEO of Vodafone Malta. Prior to taking over his present role, he was the CEO of Vodafone Czech Republic, where he successfully transformed the business and delivered strong market share growth with net promoter score leadership and strong employee engagement.

As a director on the board of Vodafone India and as a member of its executive committee, Sharma is responsible for leading the circle operations, service delivery, marketing, commercial and enterprise functions, including the development of new business initiatives and driving innovation across the organisation.

Before joining the telecom business, Sharma had worked as a sales professional Xerox and Ricoh. He is an alumnus of Mayo College and completed his engineering and MBA from the Rajasthan University.