Bharti Airtel announces management changes for Africa unit

Wednesday February 17 2016

In this file photograph taken on May 24, 2011 Sunil Mittal, Chairman of Bharti Airtel Limited, attends a plenary session at the e-G8 Forum in Paris.

In this file photograph taken on May 24, 2011 Sunil Mittal, Chairman of Bharti Airtel Limited, attends a plenary session at the e-G8 Forum in Paris. AFP PHOTO / ERIC PIERMONT / FILES 

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Bharti Airtel has moved to reorganise its top officials in African operations, forming clusters of various operations across the continent to improve performance.

While Kenya will be led by Adil El Youssefi as the managing director as a single cluster, various West African countries have been merged into clusters.

Nigeria and Ghana, for instance, form one unit under the leadership of Segun Ogunsanya. He will continue to be the managing director for Nigeria while Lucy Quist, Airtel Ghana managing director, will report to him.

“The new organisation design is aimed at enhanced empowerment at the operating level as well as speed to market, 15 country operations to be divided into eight clusters,” said a statement by Airtel on Tuesday.

Airtel Africa managing director Christian Defaria is now the executive chairman, Airtel Africa. Raghunath Mandava is appointed as chief operating officer, Airtel Africa, operating from Nairobi and in charge of commercial operations.

Mr De Faria in his new role, 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.


“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,” said Mr Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Airtel.

“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.”

Five years ago, Bharti Airtel entered Africa by buying Zain Africa's regional operations in a $10.7 billion with the hope of turning around assets that were in the loss-making zone of $100m.

Despite the target, its African business posted revenue losses, it is only in the beginning of this year when improvements were seen in its operations.

Several job cuts took place across its Africa operations with Kenya sacking about 60 employees in its top management in a cost cutting measure.

The current changes are seen as a possible game changer to the telecom. The telecom has now merged its DRC and Congo Brazzaville operations naming it cluster two and putting Wim Vanhelleputte in charge.

The managing director for Brazzaville Gerard Lokossou will report to Mr Vanhelleputte.

Gabon and Madagascar now form cluster three, manned by Alain Kahasha. Reporting directly to him is Heiko Schlittke, managing director for Gabon and Maixent Bekangba, managing director for Madagascar.

Uganda will be managed by Tom Gutjahr the managing director for Seychelles, Amadou Mahamat Dina, will report to him. Tanzania on the other hand will retain its managing director Sunil Colaso with the Rwandan managing director reporting to him.

Mr Peter Correia now takes charge of both Zambia and Malawi. While Peter continues as the MD for Zambia, Charles Kamoto Malawi managing director reports to him.

Anwar Soussa will continue as MD for Chad while Raymond Mendy, the managing director for Niger, will report to Anwar.