Bharti Airtel rejigs Africa business unit

New Delhi: Telecom major Bharti Airtel today announced restructuring of its loss-making African telecom business by grouping operations in 15 countries under eight clusters along with change in management structure.

The company has elevated Airtel Africa MD and CEO Christian Defaria to the position of Executive Chairman of Airtel Africa.

Also, the operator appointed its director of Customer Experience (India and South Asia), Raghunath Mandava, as Chief Operating Officer of Airtel Africa. “We believe we have a strong platform to accelerate our journey towards profitability and market leadership and the new cluster-based organisation design will provide an enabling environment to the teams,” Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said in a statement.

On the appointment of Christian Defaria, Mittal said, “Christian has done an excellent job by streamlining the operations, strengthening the leadership teams across Africa while enhancing the image of Airtel brand across Africa.”

In his new role, he will continue to support the vision of Airtel Africa and lead all matters relating to legal, regulatory affairs, shareholders as well as mergers and acquisitions. In the third quarter ended December 31, 2015, Africa unit posted net loss of USD 74 million as compared to USD 136 million in the corresponding quarter last year.

In constant currency terms, Africa revenues grew by 3.1 per cent to USD 1,026 million as compared to USD 995 million in the corresponding quarter of last year. Airtel moved its director of Customer Experience, India and South Asia Raghunath Mandava as Chief Operating Officer, Airtel Africa. Mandava, who has been with Airtel since 2003, will relocate to Nairobi and will be fully responsible for the commercial operations.

“The appointment of Raghu will help leverage the platform and sharpen our market focus and strengthen the innovation pipeline. We remain fully committed to Africa and will continue to invest in the growth of our operations,” Mittal said.

As per the new cluster-based organisation design, operations in 15 African countries will now be classified into eight clusters with all cluster heads reporting to Raghu, the company said.

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