pbalajiVodafone India has hired former Nokia India CEO P Balaji as its director of regulatory and external affairs, a role which is presently managed by two executives, reports the Hindu BusinessLine. He will join the company next month, and be responsible for managing regulatory and industry relations.

TV Ramachandran, who has been associated with the telecom sector for more than 30 years, is the current resident director of regulatory affairs and government relations, while Rohit Adya is the current director of external affairs. Both these veterans will be retiring over the next few months, giving the company an opportunity to merge these sections, which it said had a strong synergy between them. The merged departments will be headed by P Balaji, who had previously played a similar role at the Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson, as the VP of its marketing and strategy department.

Vodafone is currently grappling with spectrum related issues, as it currently has to bid back for its spectrum, without which it will have to shut its India operations. The company is also involved in a Rs 20,000 crore tax dispute with the Indian government, for which the appointment of a third party arbitrator was recently agreed upon. These issues and other challenges await Balaji at his new position.

Post retirement, Adya will continue to be the chairman of the Vodafone foundation and be responsible for setting up CSR activities for the company, while Ramachandran might continue to function as an advisor. Previously, Vodafone had also appointed founder and chairman of Max India Limited and its subsidiaries, Analjit Singh as the non-executive chairman of Vodafone India.