Telenor names Vivek Sood as CEO of Uninor, Upanga Dutta marketing head

Norwegian telecom firm Telenor has decided to move back Vivek Sood, former CFO of Uninor, as its new CEO to head operations in India, the company said in a release. Sood is currently CEO of Grameenphone, a part of Telenor and the largest mobile operator in Bangladesh.

During his two-year tenure with Grameenphone, Sood, who has over two decades of experience, strengthened its market position and gained financial strength. Under him Grameenphone crossed the 50 million customer milestone and Bangladesh became the first country where Telenor Group has achieved such a feat.

Before moving to Grameenphone, Sood was the chief financial officer at Uninor. Previously, he worked with the companies like Tata AIG Life Insurance, Hutchison Telecom, Tupperware India and Hindustan Lever Ltd (Unilever).

He is the fourth man to head Uninor in last two years. Yogesh Malik, who took over from Sigve Brekke in May 2013 had quit after six months on the job. Post that Brekke had taken over as the interim chief before Telenor named Morten Karlsen Srby as the head of India.

Srby, who joined as CEO early this year, has stepped down from his role due to illness in his immediate family and will assume a new role in Telenor Group. Srby who had joined Telenor in 1993, served as a member of the group’s executive management team since 2003.

Prior to his appointment as head of strategy and regulatory affairs of Telenor, he worked as the head of Telenor's Norwegian and Nordic mobile and fixed network operations.

The company has also announced the appointment of Upanga Dutta as new chief marketing officer (CMO). He takes over the role of Rajeev Sethi, who is moving to Grameenphone as CEO.

All the changes are effective from December 1, 2014 but Morten will remain as an advisor to the Uninor top management until January 1, 2015.

“Combined (Grameenphone and Uninor), the two companies represent nearly 90 million mobile customers. Grameenphone is an undisputed market leader in Bangladesh and Uninor continues to capture market share in India. With these executive changes, Telenor aims to stimulate further growth and strengthen our position with customers in these markets,” said Sigve Brekke, executive vice-president and head of Telenor in Asia.

Sethi, Grameenphone's new CEO, has served as CMO in Uninor for a couple of years. Before that, he spent more than three years as the head of Uninor’s Uttar Pradesh (East) circle. He has significant ICT industry experience including executive engagements in companies such as Vodafone, HP, Hutchison Telecom and Asian Paints.

Sethi is an MBA in marketing, finance and operations from the IIM Lucknow.

Dutta, Uninor’s new CMO, also brings operational experience from his previous assignments as senior vice-president and head of company’s largest circle, UP (East). Prior to joining Uninor in 2009, he worked with Idea, Bharti Airtel and Carrier Aircon.

He received his MBA in marketing from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai and has an electrical engineering degree from the Delhi College of Engineering.

At present, Uninor has over 42 million subscribers and its pre-paid GSM mobile services are commercially available in the six circles of UP (West), UP (East), Bihar (including Jharkhand), Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Together, these circles account for more than 50 per cent of India’s population giving Uninor the ability to serve every second person in India.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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