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Airtel appoints Shashi Arora as CEO & MD of its payments bank

shashi arora

Airtel’s Payments Bank has appointed Shashi Arora as CEO and MD of the company, the company informed BSE in a notification (pdf). The appointment is subject to approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Arora will replace Manish Khera who headed Airtel’s payments bank for a short duration of 2 months.

A Mint report said that Khera was leaving to pursue “entrepreneurial opportunities.” Airtel had appointed Khera as the CEO of Airtel mcommerce services limited (AMSL), which operates the semi-closed wallet under the brand name ‘Airtel Money’ in August 2015. Then, Khera was a part of Airtel’s management board and report to MD & CEO of Airtel Gopal Vittal (India & South Asia).

Before joining the payments bank business, Shashi Arora was the CEO of Airtel Digital DTH TV for almost 5 years, before which he was the CEO of upper North region at Airtel for over a year. Prior to that, he was the CEO of the Delhi circle with Airtel for over 2.5 years, and the COO of the same for almost 2 years.

Before Airtel, Arora has worked as the group marketing head for Kotak Mahindra Bank for over 3 years, regional sales manager, senior brand manager and area sales manager at Hindustan Unilever Limited for over 11.5 years. Arora has also worked with Raymond.

Payments bank license: Last month, AMSL received a payments bank license from the RBI. AMSL already has a prepaid payments instrument license from the RBI and Airtel applied for a payments bank license in January 2015, to convert the same into a payments bank license.

In February, Kotak Mahindra Bank bought a 19.9% stake in Airtel’s mobile commerce subsidiary AMSL for Rs 98.38 crore. This came after RBI granted an “in-principle” approval to 11 applicants for a payments bank license in August 2015, which included Airtel and Vodafone.

Airtel Money: Airtel Money was launched in 2011 and allows customers to use their mobile phones as a secure way for making payments and transferring money. In India, Airtel Money posted a net profit of Rs 4.47 crore for the year ended March 2015. The company had posted a loss of Rs 106.26 crore in the fiscal year ended March 2014.

Airtel Money user base & transactions: Airtel Money hasn’t disclosed operational data for India for since March 2014. At that time, the company had reported an active base of 1.7 million users in India in Q4-FY14, up from 1.3 million in the previous quarter. The total number of transactions made in the country was at 38 million, up 25.8% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) while the total amount transacted was at Rs 1,364.2 crore for the quarter, up 10.2% QoQ.

Overhaul of Airtel’s properties: Last month, Airtel announced that it was redesigning its online recharge and payments interface which included its website and the MyAirtel app. The company would integrate all mobile wallets and other digital payment modes on its website and Airtel app under a single interface.

Our payments bank and Airtel coverage.

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