Vodacom South Africa MD Balesh Sharma is leaving the mobile operator after less than two years in the role. He has decided to pursue a new opportunity in Europe after two decades with Vodafone Group, Vodacom Group’s parent company.
Sharma has been MD of Vodacom South Africa since September 2020, after he was appointed to the role to carve out a new standalone Vodacom South Africa entity. To ensure a smooth transition, Sharma will remain in his role for the next three months, Vodacom said in a statement.
Sharma joined Vodafone Group in India in March 2003 where he held various senior leadership roles before moving to international assignments as CEO of Vodafone Malta and then CEO of Vodafone Czech Republic.
“He later returned to India to help the company fight one of the industry’s most competitive environments. In his capacity as the founding CEO of Vodafone Idea, Balesh managed the integration of Vodafone and Idea, delivering substantial synergies within the first year post-merger, and successfully completing a rights issue of US$3.5-billion for the merged entity,” Vodacom said in the statement.
During his tenure as Vodacom South Africa MD, Sharma “led the improvements in market share, net promoter scores, network, churn improvement, Tobi (the Vodacom chatbot), Vodacom Business performance and also drove the winning back of data market share”, said Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub.
“Balesh was a strong support for various critical Vodacom projects such as the recent spectrum auction, which saw Vodacom successfully acquire a total of 110MHz of high-demand spectrum.”
Joosub said a successor will be announced soon.