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Vodafone’s former chief, Ind Sharma, is leading PPF services


The Czech audience remembers this well as CEO of Czech Vodafone from 2013 to 2017. According to some sources, an experienced Indian manager should take the lead in a key part of the group, i.e. PPF Telecom Group. Through nine companies, it operates in six countries in Central and Southeast Europe. It includes Cetin, Yettel and O2.

In terms of sales and profits, PPF is one of the most important pillars of the business today, followed by his wife Renáta Kellnerová and his family after the tragic death of Petr Kellner last year.

After leaving the Czech Republic, Balesh Sharma worked in senior positions for Vodafone in India, the United Kingdom and most recently in South Africa. Here he was CEO of Vodafone’s African branch, Vodacom. In recent years, he has managed operators in large crowded markets. Before coming to Prague in 2013, he headed Vodafone in Malta.

Balesh Chandra Sharma, 57, is a seasoned globetrotter who joined Vodafone in 2003. Prior to that, she graduated from Rajasthan University of Technology and Finance with BPL Mobile, Xerox and Ricoh.

According to some reports, his commitment surprised the managers of the Czech O2, which fought fierce competitive battles with Sharma a few years ago. Let us recall that Sharma came to the Czech Republic during the big telecommunications bang, when after a significant frequency auction in turn in 2012 and 2013, the PPF group finally decided to buy the local number Telefónica O2 from the Spaniards. Until then, established operators had been intimidated by its project to build a fourth operator.

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The engagement of an experienced Indian was prepared by the incumbent head of PPF, Ladislav Bartoníček, who had been in charge of telecommunications for several years. He is known as a fan of sophisticated and complex corporate structures. After all, he trained in business as the CEO of a giant mollusk named Česká pojišťovna. Under his rule, which lasted a little over a year, the PPF group began to focus more on this type of foreign manager.

But now it will be important what Jiří Šmejc, who should take over the executive branch of the PPF from June 15, will do. With his arrival on the floors of the PPF headquarters in Evropská, considerable personal changes are expected, and on the market, businessmen are already betting that the hard work mathematicians from Karlovy Vary will bring with their colleagues.

According to some reports, Balesh Sharma was supposed to be appointed last week, but the change of head of the group delayed his arrival.

“His entry has not yet been confirmed and the exact position he should take has not been announced. Obviously, he has been delayed with Jiří Šmejc’s announcement. Now they are talking about next week. But many things can happen until then,” said a source from around PPF.

However, representatives of the group do not want to comment officially on this. PPF spokesman Leoš Rousek left the Hrot questions unanswered.

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