Vodacom hires Balesh Sharma as South Africa MD in major restructuring
Vodacom Group has moved to simplify its structure, creating a standalone South African operation and appointing an MD, a newly created role that will be filled by Vodafone executive Balesh Sharma.
“For Vodacom Group to play a central role of overseeing all operations across its African footprint, this has necessitated the creation of a standalone South African operating company that will be led by Balesh Sharma in the newly created role of managing director: Vodacom South Africa,” the telecommunications group said in a statement on Thursday.
It said it decided to simplify its structure following the recent expansion of its African portfolio and “accelerated growth ambitions on the continent”.
Vodacom Group said this follows the recent expansion of its African portfolio and accelerated growth ambitions on the continent, including in financial services and digital services.
The group assumed management responsibility for Vodafone Ghana on 1 April and subsequently concluded a joint venture with Safaricom to accelerate the expansion of M-Pesa, having acquired the M-Pesa brand, product development and support services from parent Vodafone Group.
Vodacom and Safaricom have also expressed interest in bidding for an Ethiopian telecommunications licence as part of a consortium. Vodacom holds a strategic stake in Safaricom.
“The stellar financial performance of our international portfolio, combined with the added responsibility of managing Vodafone Ghana and accelerating the growth of financial and digital services, means that we needed to put the right structure in place to deliver on our ambition of becoming a leading pan-African technology company,” said group CEO Shameel Joosub in the statement.
“This includes the decoupling of Vodacom South Africa as a standalone business. Under Balesh’s leadership, I am confident that the increased focus will leverage the numerous opportunities that exist in South Africa from both our traditional telco business and our technology-focused growth acceleration units. The new structure will also place heightened emphasis on our international portfolio and new growth areas to ensure that we continue to diversify our revenue streams.”
Sharma, who will report directly to Joosub, will join a reconstituted Vodacom Group executive committee on 1 July. He is currently the director of special projects for Vodafone Group, where he has recently supported the roll-out of a new telecommunications operation in Oman.
Previously, Sharma was CEO of Vodafone Idea and chief operating officer of Vodafone India. He is an alumni of the Harvard Business School and Mayo College, and holds a degree in mechanical engineering from Engineering College, Kota and an MBA from Podar Institute of Management in Jaipur, India.
With effect from 1 July, Beverly Ngwenya and Sitho Mdlalose will join the new Vodacom South Africa exco as technology director and financial director respectively, reporting into Sharma.