Vodafone's Chief Commercial Officer Sanjoy Mukherji Moves On

Sanjoy Mukerji tells Forbes India that after telecom, he plans to create connectivity platforms to take health care to remote locations

By Samar Srivastava Forbes India Staff
Published: Nov 23, 2012

After studying law I vectored towards journalism by accident and it's the only job I've done since. It's a job that has taken me on a private jet to Jaisalmer - where I wrote India's first feature on fractional ownership of business jets - to the badlands of west UP where India's sugar economy is inextricably now tied to politics. I'm a big fan of new business models and crafty entrepreneurs. Fortunately for me, there are plenty of those in Asia at the moment.

What do I want to do in the next 10 years was the question in front of me
Image: Vikas Khot
What do I want to do in the next 10 years was the question in front of me

Sanjoy Mukerji
Last Position: Chief commercial officer, Vodafone India
Education: Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
Career: Started at Shaw Wallace & Company and went on to join Pepsico India; had a short stint with Navin Mail Services in between
Hobbies: Poetry, exercising

Q. You’ve been with Vodafone for 11 years. During this period, the industry has evolved a lot. How has the journey been?
It has been the most exciting 11 years of my career, from impacting nearly 100,000 people to impacting millions. When I joined the company, telecom was still very niche. We had only about 600,000 customers and Rs 500 crore in revenues. The industry was focussed on income markets. We would tap into metros; and we were doing very well in Gujarat where income levels were good. But we didn’t want to go to UP or Bihar at that stage. Those were still the days when incoming calls were charged. The concept of the calling party paying was implemented in May 2003. When that happened, the market moved from an income basis to a population basis almost overnight. It started exploding and we began to run out of capacity. That is when a lot of new technology came in.

Q. What were the toughest challenges you faced?
The toughest challenges were to do with the regulatory environment. Some aspects are difficult, like the manner in which customer acquisition forms are filled. India is constantly under threat and we need to be careful. Personal identification of people is a little uncertain. It is always a challenge to ensure that these records are maintained. Regulatory changes keep happening to seemingly benefit the customer and we have to be pretty fleet-footed to manage this. During the Hutchison days, there was a lot of negative talk about the company and it being owned by a firm called Orascom; as executives we felt a little weird. At the end of the day, seeing the massive edifice that you’ve built is a matter of immense pride.

Q. Why did you move on soon after being promoted to the post of chief commercial officer?
The process of change started in my mind last November. That was when I turned 48 and thought I’ve another 10 years to go officially. What do I want to do in the next 10 years was the question in front of me. I saw Vodafone and it was a bit like driving QE2—a big ship—but it is well-run, so all you do is sit in your cabin. Vodafone has all the systems and processes in place. Moving on was a very difficult decision. When I looked at different businesses, health care was the one that attracted me. I didn’t want to join another large company. With all the travelling I’d done, I came across a developing technology that was based on creating connectivity platforms that would enable health care to be provided at remote locations. That’s what I plan to do now.


(This article is excerpted from the latest Forbes India 07 December, 2012 issue which is now available at news stands and book stores. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com)

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  • Asif Usmani

    Sir, every one miss you in Vodafone, i recently left Vodafone was a Prepaid RM in west zone... Sir, you have been truly inspiring.. Regards Asif Usmani

    on Oct 15, 2013
  • Harsh Bhatia

    Its a Great move

    on Nov 28, 2012
  • Prashant Fernandes

    Wish you All the Best Sanjoy Sir...! Very soon we are all going to see a Healthier India... :)

    on Nov 28, 2012
  • Vivek Modi

    he has the midas touch. he turns no performers into super men. telecoms loss is healthcare gain. keep watching this space to see the evolution of technology in health. super success await him. best !

    on Nov 28, 2012
  • Prajit Menon

    Sir, You have been truly inspiring! .. Wish you all the very best !!

    on Nov 28, 2012
  • Neeraj Swami

    I Totally agree with sonjoy boss that Health Care\\wellness industry is going to blast, this industry knowns as trillion dollar industry

    on Nov 27, 2012
  • Sisir Shovan De

    Sanjoy is a doer and has the ability of driving the business with a lot of fire and passion. He has already proven this in the past and im sure that he shall come out with flying colours in his new endeavour. I wish him all the best. Good luck Boss!

    on Nov 27, 2012
  • Naoman Ansari

    Sanjoy is one of the rarest person that I have come across. He is an epitome of passion. All the Best Boss!

    on Nov 27, 2012
  • Naoman Ansari

    Wish you all the Best and loads of Happiness !

    on Nov 27, 2012
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