Balesh Sharma to head Vodafone-Idea Cellular after merger, Himanshu Kapania moved to Group

Balesh Sharma

Aditya Birla Group and Vodafone have announced the list of office bearers who will run the company resulting from the merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular.

Balesh Sharma, who is currently Chief Operating Officer of Vodafone India, has been chosen to head the new company, while the existing CEO of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular are being redeployed in parent firms.

Akshaya Moondra, currently Chief Financial Officer at ldea Cellular, will take over as the CFO of the new entity after merger.

Himanshu Kapania, the current CEO Idea Cellular, will be nominated to the board of the new company on behalf of Aditya Birla group as non-executive Board member. He will also have “a significant assignment in the Group” after the merger, it said.

Sunil Sood, who heads Vodafone India at present, will join the Vodafone Group’s Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific Leadership Team. He will also “help governance through Board memberships” the companies said.

Sashi Shankar, currently Chief Marketing Officer at Idea, will be responsible for the Marketing and the Brand Strategy for the consumer business.

Kumar Mangalam Birla would be the Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of the merged company.

The groups said they expect the merger to be okayed before the end of June this year. “Idea and Vodafone continue to make good progress in securing the required regulatory approvals for the merger, in keeping with the Modi Government’s commitment to improve ease of doing business in India,” they said.

The current teams will run the company till the merger is completed.

Balesh Sharma will handle the combined business’s strategy and its execution as well as driving integration.

“The team has extensive operational experience and is an excellent blend of expertise from both companies,” the companies said.


Balesh Sharma was appointed as the Chief Operating Officer at Vodafone India in April 2017.

He joined Hutch in 2003 and has served 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,” according to the company.

Before joining telecom, Balesh was in the sale department at Xerox and Ricoh. He has also been associated with startups, the company said.

He has studied in Mayo College in Rajasthan and completed his Engineering and MBA from the Rajasthan University.


The position of COO or Chief Operating Officer in the new company will go to Ambrish Jain, currently Deputy Managing Director at Idea. Jain will be responsible for Circles Operations and Service Delivery.

Nick Gliddon, currently Director – Vodafone Business Services at Vodafone India, will be responsible for the Enterprise Business.

Manish Dawar, currently CFO of Vodafone India, will have overall responsibility for integration planning, governance and execution.

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 ldea, will be responsible for the new company’s IT operations, while Suvamoy Roy Choudhury, who leads Vodafone India’s Human Resources, will be responsible for the Human Resource function.

Kavita Nair currently the Associate Director, Commercial Operations at Vodafone India, will lead digital transformation across all functions, while Navanit Narayan, currently Chief Service Delivery Officer at Idea, will be in charge of Strategy.

P Balaji, currently Vodafone India’s Head of Regulatory, External Affairs and CSR, will be responsible for Corporate and External Affairs.

Kumar Das, currently Vodafone India’s General Counsel, will lead the legal function.

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

Anil Tandon and Rajat Mukherjee, currently Head of Technology and Head of Corporate Affairs of Idea will be full time advisers to the merged business in their respective areas of expertise, working closely with Vishant and Balaji.