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Airtel appoints Andrew Kossowski as chief information officer for Africa

andrewBharti Airtel has appointed Andrew Kossowski as chief information officer for its pan African network. Kossowski, whose appointment will take effect on May 15th 2015, will take over from George Fanthome the previous CIO. In his new role, Kossowski will be responsible for driving Airtel Africa’s IT strategy including bettering its execution capabilities, in the 17 African countries that Airtel operates in.

Prior to Airtel, Kossowski was the vice president operations – strategic accounts in Latin American and Caribbean for Ericsson, where he worked for over 4 years. He was also the director of global programs at NII Holdings from June 2007 to October 2010, before he joined Ericsson. At NII he led the initial market deployment of the 3G systems, postpaid and prepaid modernization.

Other than this Kossowski has also worked as the senior manager of network and IT services for Sprint Nextel between 2003 and 2007. Before this he was employed at Verizon as the manager of software support and development for over five years. He had started his career as a quality assurance manager for the US Air Force, where he worked for over 12 years.

Airtel Africa’s turbulent timeline:

– Airtel Africa’s voice revenue and overall growth suffered because of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)’s ban on conducting sales promotions in Nigeria, Airtel Africa CEO Christian De Faria mentioned during Bharti Airtel’s Q2-FY15 earnings conference call in November last year. This ban had come into effect on March 31, 2014 and was lifted the same year on the 31st of October.

– In July the same year Bharti Airtel had signed an agreement to sell and lease back over 3,100 towers in four countries across Africa to the telecom tower operator Helios Towers Africa (HTA). Airtel had mentioned that this deal would help them reduce debt and significantly reduce the ongoing capital expenditure on passive infrastructure. It would also enable the telco to focus on its core business and customers.

– Airtel Africa had reported an increased net loss of $124 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2014, a 24% increase from $100 million loss in the previous quarter and a 36.3% increase from a net loss of $91 million from the same quarter the previous year.

– Manoj Kohli, MD & CEO (International), in-charge of Airtel’s operations in Africa, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, had relocated to India effective Jan 1, 2014, after a difficult time in Africa, where the company did not meet the ambitious goals that Kohli had set for the end of FY13. Kohli had set the following targets for Airtel in that continent: 100 million customers, $5 billion in revenue and $2 billion EBITDA. Christian de Faria was then appointed as Airtel Africa’s new CEO.

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