Telecom industry body COAI today said it has appointed Vodafone MD and Chief Executive Officer Sunil Sood as its new Chairman and Bharti Airtel COO Ajai Puri as vice-chairman. “…Sunil Sood, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Vodafone India Ltd, who was Vice Chairman of the industry body for the last two years, will now hold the position of Chairman while the Vice Chairman will be…Ajai Puri, Chief Operating Officer, Bharti Airtel Ltd,” COAI said in a statement.
The new leadership was announced at COAI’s annual general body meeting for the financial year held today.
“We would like to thank our leadership for their guidance and support during one of the most challenging periods in the telecom sector and further express confidence in their ability to steer the Association and the sector towards long term health and stability,” COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews said.
Sood succeeds Bharti Airtel MD and CEO for India and South Asia, Gopal Vittal.
Mathews said the sector contributes 6.5 percent to the national GDP, while the industry is reeling under Rs 7.64 lakh crore debt and the additional investment of Rs 2 lakh crore is still required over the next two years to fulfil the dream of a digitally connected India.
“We are sure the partnership between the Government and the sector will get stronger and these targets will be achieved. The National Digital Communications Policy 2018, recently unveiled by the DoT, holds significant promises for the industry that has been facing difficult times over the last few years,” Mathews said.
Sood has been the MD and CEO of Vodafone India since April 2015. Earlier, he served as the Chief Operating Officer at Vodafone India Limited since February 3, 2012 and as its Director of West Zone.
Following merger of Vodafone India with Idea Cellular, expected to be closed in this month, Sood will join the Vodafone Group AMAP (Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific) leadership team and also help governance through Board memberships.
Puri has been with Bharti Airtel since 2004 and has held several senior leadership positions including Director – Market Operations, Director and CEO – DTH, and CEO – Kolkata & West Bengal, Odisha.