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Vodafone Idea CEO Balesh Sharma stepped down from his post

Vodafone Idea CEO Balesh Sharma has stepped down from his post due to personal reasons, the company said in a statement on Monday. He would take up a new role with the Vodafone Group, the company said, without divulging details.

Ravinder Takkar, currently Vodafone Group’s representative in India, has been appointed as his successor with immediate effect, Vodafone Idea said. Takkar is currently a board member of Vodafone Idea and Indus Towers. Prior to his current role, Takkar 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.

Sharma was the CEO of Vodafone Idea since the completion of the merger, and prior to that he was Chief Operating Officer of Vodafone India. He drove the integration of the two telecom brands.

Vodafone Idea has made huge losses in the last three financial quarters as its revenue streams shrunk due to the tariff war started by Reliance Jio in September 2016.

The company, which is in the midst of a massive integration exercise of its two telecom brands Vodafone and Idea, has completed the network integration process in 11 out of 22 circles and hopes to achieve the rest by June 2020.

Triggered by the price war unleashed by Jio’s entry in September 2016, the two brands had announced their merger in March 2017 and completed the regulatory process by August 2018.

Since then, the company has continued to lose subscribers every month.

In fact, its subscriber base declined from 334.1 million in the March quarter to 320 million in the June quarter.

Because of the customer churn that was triggered by the introduction of minimum monthly recharge plans and decline in tariffs, Vodafone Idea’s revenue fell 4.3% to11,269.9 crore in the June quarter from11,775 crore in the preceding three months.

The telecom operator posted a loss of4,873.9 crore in the June quarter. The net loss came despite the company witnessing higher data consumption on its network, and signing up more 4G subscribers.

Vodafone Idea’s gross debt stands at 1.2 trillion as on 30 June.

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