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Rediff News  All News  » Business » Major rejig at Airtel; CEO Vittal becomes more powerful

Major rejig at Airtel; CEO Vittal becomes more powerful

January 29, 2014 15:08 IST

Within a year of Gopal Vittal becoming the joint managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) of Bharti Airtel’s India operations, the Sunil Mittal-led telco on Tuesday elevated the ex-Hindustan Unilever hand as the managing director and CEO for Bharti Airtel’s operations in India and South Asia.

Bharti Airtel’s south Asia businesses include operations in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Together, India and South Asia account for about three-fourths of Airtel’s revenue.

Earlier, both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were part of Bharti’s international business along with its operations in Africa, and were overseen by Manoj Kohli, MD and CEO (international).

In a statement, Bharti said Kohli, a veteran at Bharti Airtel, will relinquish his current position and take over as MD of Bharti Enterprises, the holding company of Bharti Airtel, India’s largest telecom operator by subscribers.

The MD’s post at Bharti Enterprises is new and has been created to ensure professional and structured oversight of its non-listed companies, the company said in a statement.

The new operational structure will become effective April 1. In the process, Kohli will move out of operational involvements in telecom business and lead the oversight of “all non-telecom businesses of the group” - retail, insurance, food & agriculture, realty, and others.
According to the company statement, the changes in the organisational structure have been adopted to provide enhanced empowerment to professionals.

Kohli will work closely with the respective MDs and CEOs, the statement noted. Kohli will be responsible for business development, corporate and shareholder

relations on a group wide basis.

Kohli will also serve on various Bharti boards, including Airtel, and be the chairman of Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) that owns Airtel’s African operations.

As part of the rejig, Bharti Airtel has appointed Christian de Faria as the managing director and CEO for the firm’s Africa operations. Faria will assume full operational responsibility of the company’s operations across 17 African countries.

On the other hand, as part of its strategy to provide enhanced empowerment to top management teams and to further strengthen corporate governance, the company has decided to form Bharti Governance Board with Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Enterprises; three Vice Chairmen - Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Rajan Bharti Mittal and Akhil Gupta.

Manoj Kohli, Managing Director, and four other veterans of Bharti Group - Sarvjit Singh Dhillon, Deven Khanna, Inder Walia and Mukesh Bhavnani. All the listed companies of the Group be run by professionals and management bodies led by the MD and CEO.

“The new structure reflects the next phase of Bharti’s growth journey, which will be led by best-in-class professionals in various segments. Bharti has always championed the empowerment of its people and set high standards of corporate governance. This is another step towards transforming the group from entrepreneur-led professional-backed to a professional-led entrepreneur-backed one,” Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Enterprises, said in a statement.

Bharti has also designated Akhil Gupta as Chairman of Bharti Infratel and Vice Chairman of Bharti Enterprises. He will also serve on boards of other Group companies. DS Rawat, CEO Bharti Infratel has been appointed as MD and CEO of Bharti Infratel and is being inducted into the Board of the company.

BS Reporter in New Delhi