Ravinder Takkar takes over as Vodafone Idea new MD-CEO, Balesh Sharma calls it quits

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August 20, 2019 5:48 AM

Vodafone Idea’s financials remain stretched as the benefits of a merger are yet to flow through at the financial level. The company’s total debt/ Ebitda stands at 27.41x as of March 2019.

Ravinder Takkar, Vodafone Idea, MD, CEO, Balesh Sharma, industry news, VIL,Indian telecom industryRavinder Takkar

Balesh Sharma has resigned as the chief executive officer of Vodafone Idea (VIL). A company statement on Monday said Ravinder Takkar, currently Vodafone Group’s representative in India, would take over from Sharma with immediate effect as the new managing director and CEO of Vodafone Idea.  Sharma has quit citing personal reasons, the company statement said.

Vodafone Idea’s financials remain stretched as the benefits of a merger are yet to flow through at the financial level. The company’s total debt/ Ebitda stands at 27.41x as of March 2019. Its total debt is at Rs 1.20 lakh crore as of June 2019, including deferred spectrum payment obligations dues to the government of Rs 89,180 crore but excluding lease liabilities.

The company’s net loss during the April-June quarter widened to Rs 4,908 crore compared with Rs 4,882 crore in the preceding quarter. The company, which had narrowed its loss during Q4FY19, could not consolidate the gains further as high-paying customers downtraded to lower plans in the post-paid segment and a chunk of low-paying customers who had recharged under a minimum Rs 35-per-month plan during the fourth quarter, did not carry on during the April-June period.

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. Prior to his current role, he was the CEO of Vodafone Romania for three years and CEO of Vodafone Partner Markets in London. He has been with Vodafone Group since 1994 and has worked in several leadership positions across Vodafone’s operating companies over the last 25 years.

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Takkar has been involved in the Indian telecom industry since 2007 when Vodafone Group entered the Indian market and has held a number of senior roles in strategy and business development and was the CEO of the enterprise business.

Sharma had been the CEO of Vodafone Idea since the completion of the merger, and prior to that was chief operating officer of Vodafone India. “He has overseen the successful integration of Vodafone Idea — resulting in the estimated timescale to complete the integration falling from four to just two years. Balesh has driven the strategy of the combined business since its formation and he has also spearheaded the largest-ever equity raise in India,” the VIL statement said.

Commenting on the leadership change, Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman Aditya Birla Group and Vodafone Idea, said, “I would like to thank Balesh for his leadership and the successful integration of the two businesses. Under Balesh’s stewardship, Vodafone Idea has realised a significant proportion of the synergies in a much shorter time scale than originally estimated… I am pleased to welcome Ravinder Takkar as our new MD & CEO. He is well-versed with the Vodafone Idea business context and I am confident he will successfully steer the company through the next phase of development and help unlock its full potential.”

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