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Vodafone Group and Indian telecom company Idea Cellular have announced the proposed leadership team of the combined business, which will come into effect after the merger has been completed. This is in line with the original merger announcement of 20 March 2017, which said that the management team of the combined business would be confirmed prior to closing.

Vodafone and Idea Cellular said they continue to make good progress in securing the required regulatory approvals for the merger, in keeping with the Modi Government’s commitment to improve the ease of doing business in India, and completion is expected to be in the first half of the current calendar year.

The existing leadership teams of Idea Cellular and Vodafone India will continue to manage their separate businesses and be accountable for each company’s operational performance until the merger becomes effective. It is only upon completion of the merger that the two businesses will cease to operate as distinct and competing entities.

Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, the parent company of Idea Cellular, will be the Non-Executive Chairman of the merged company. CEO will be Balesh Sharma (currently Chief Operating Officer of Vodafone India). Balesh Sharma will be responsible for the combined business’s strategy and its execution as well as driving integration.

Idea Cellular Managing Director Himanshu Kapania and Vodafone India CEO Sunil Sood will continue in their current roles until such time as the merger completes. Sunil Sood will join the Vodafone Group AMAP Leadership Team and also help governance through Board memberships. The Aditya Birla intends to nominate Himanshu Kapania as non-executive Board member of the merged entity.

“We are pleased to announce the proposed management team for the new company to be created through the merger of Vodafone India and Idea,” said Vodafone Group Chief Executive, Vittorio Colao, and Aditya Birla Group Chairman, Kumar Mangalam Birla. “The team has extensive operational experience and is an excellent blend of expertise from both companies. We look forward to the completion of the merger and competing as one company in the marketplace.”