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Vodacom is 'decoupling' its SA business and hiring a new MD

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Vodacom has announced a major restructuring with the South African business being 'decoupled' to become a standalone business with a new MD.

"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 group said in a statement.

This comes after Vodacom in April took over the management responsibility for Vodafone Ghana and also concluded a joint venture with Safaricom, which it owns a strategic stake in, to accelerate the expansion of M-Pesa, having acquired the M-Pesa brand, product development and support services from Vodafone.

"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 Vodacom Group CEO, Shameel Joosub.

"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."

He said the new structure will also place more emphasis on the international portfolio and new growth areas to ensure that the operator continues to diversify its revenue streams.

One of the growth areas could be in Ethiopia as Vodacom and Safaricom have expressed interest in bidding for an Ethiopian telecommunications license as part of a consortium.

Sharma will join the reconstituted Vodacom Group executive committee on July 1, 2020. He is currently the director of special projects for the Vodafone Group, where he has recently supported the rollout of a new telecom operation in Oman and has been tasked with driving the COVID-19 response for African markets.

Sharma was also previously the CEO of Vodafone Idea and COO 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.

Vodacom also announced that, as of July 1, the new Vodacom South Africa team will include Beverly Ngwenya as technology director and Sitho Mdlalose as financial director, reporting to Sharma.

— The Staff, Connecting Africa

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