Vodafone Managing Director, India, Pieters will be retiring from his position on April 1, 2015. During his reign he took the government at every turn right from regulatory issues, tax, or auction of spectrum. He has been the longest running managing director in the history of Indian telecom industry from February 2009. The current chief operating officer, Sunil Sood will take over from Pieters to head the company. Pieters was fondly nicknamed “Crusader”
Pieters was the unflinching commander who spoke his mind, even if that meant it offended the staff, peers, or regulators. According to several people who have worked with him and those at competing firms, Pieter style is to stick to his statements whether on or off the record.
To put it simply he is the most outspoken CEO in India. Rajan Mathews, general secretary of GSM operators' apex industry body, COAI stated Pieters was more vocal, however his place is more in line with the industry. Additionally, he also has a larger stake in the final result.
Vodafone is India’s second biggest telecom player after Bharti Airtel. Originally a British company, Vodafone has invested INR60,000 crore in India, which includes capital expenditure and spectrum costs. The company has more than 177 million subscribers. The company did have a rough start when it initially started operations in India after it acquired the Hutchison Whampoa's stake in Hutchison Essar in 2007. Later the company branded its services as Vodafone India. Vodafone India’s INR20,000 crore tax dispute with the government over its 2007 buyout is still to find an outcome, despite Supreme Court giving a verdict in the favor of the company.