Balesh Sharma becomes the new Vodafone India COO

In today’s industry news, Vodafone has decided to replace Naveen Chopra, their India Chief Operating Officer, with Balesh Sharma, who has been a chief executive officer at Vodafone Czech Republic since 2013. They have made the decision as a response to Reliance Jio entering the market to be better prepared to tackle the competitive pressures.

However, these changes will not be effective immediately. Sharma will officially replace Chopra on April 1st, according to the company’s spokesperson. Chopra has been Vodafone India’s COO since 2015. The details of his next role are still unknown.

Vodafone will now be more agile and faster with its decision-making by integrating its commercial functions with operations. Sandeep Kataria, the current commercial head, will now answer to Sharma.

Sharma has been involved with Vodafone since 2011. His previous job roles involved working in Delhi, Bangalore, and Malta markets. During his career, he has worked for BPL Mobile and Xerox.

The organisational changes are taking place during a time when Vodafone India is facing immense competitive pressure due to Reliance Jio entering the telecommunications market. Due to this, Vodafone is even considering a merger with Idea Cellular, India’s #3 telecommunications company.

The combined entity would have 390 million users, which is even more than the number of users Bharti Airtel has (266 million). The combined entity would have the biggest market share.

Despite the company’s economic challenges, Vittorio Colao, group chief executive, said the company still sees long-term value in India.