March 22, 2018 / 1:47 PM / in a month

Vodafone veteran Balesh Sharma named new CEO for Vodafone-Idea India telco combine

(Reuters) - Vodafone Group Plc’s (VOD.L) Indian unit and Idea Cellular (IDEA.NS), which are in the process of merging their operations to create the country’s biggest telecoms carrier, on Thursday named Vodafone veteran Balesh Sharma as the new chief executive for the combined venture.

FILE PHOTO: A hotel employee clears a table after Vodafone Group and Idea Cellular news conference in Mumbai, India March 20, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Sharma is currently the chief operating officer at Vodafone India.

Akshaya Moondra, the current chief financial officer at Idea, will become the finance chief at the combined firm, the companies said separate filings.

    Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of Idea’s parent Aditya Birla conglomerate, will be the non-executive chairman of the merged telecoms company.

    Vodafone Group and Idea had agreed to merge their Indian operations in March last year, potentially creating the country’s biggest telecoms business after the entry of a new rival, Reliance Jio Infocomm, sparked a brutal price war.

    The companies, which have said they expect the merger to be completed in the first half of this year, said they are making “good progress” in securing regulatory approvals for the merger.

    Reporting by Jessica Kuruthukulangara in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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