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Airtel promotes Raghunath Mandava as CEO of its Africa operations

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Raghunath Mandava, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Airtel’s Africa operations has been promoted as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Airtel Africa, the company said in a statement. Effective from January 1 2017, Mandava will head Airtel’s operation in the African continent and will also be a permanent member of the Board. Airtel has additionally appointed Christian Defaria who is the current executive chairman for Airtel Africa as Chairman for Airtel International (Netherlands).

Mandava took over as COO of Airtel Africa in July. He joined the company in 2003 as Director for Airtel India. Within Airtel, he held several managerial roles like Chief Marketing Officer (India), CEO for Rajasthan Circle, COO for Tamil Nadu circle, among others. Prior to Airtel, Mandava worked with Hindustan Unilever heading various roles in operations and marketing segment for 13 years.

Bharti Airtel’s stake purchase in Nigeria unit

The appointment of Mandava comes at a time when the disputed 5% stake held by Africa’s Econet Wireless was finally acquired by Airtel last month. With this acquisition, Bharit Airtel’s controlling stake in Airtel Nigeria increased to 83.25%. The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. Bharti Airtel originally acquired 65.7% stake Airtel Nigeria after it entered the country by signing a deal with Zain Africa back in 2010.

Africa Financials: For the quarter ending September 2016 (Q3 FY17), Airtel reported (pdf) total revenues of Rs 53,048 crore, down from Rs 62,721 in the same quarter last year. Airtel also posted and a net loss of Rs 6,158 crore in its African operations for Q3 FY17. It had reported to have 78.14 million subscribers in the African continent as of September 2016. Bharti Airtel currently operates in 15 countries in Africa including Nigeria, Chad, Congo B,   Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, Niger, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Rwanda.

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Airtel payments bank CEO

In June, Shashi Arora was appointed as CEO and MD of Airtel’s payments bank operations. Arora replaced Manish Khera who headed Airtel’s payments bank for a short duration of 2 months. A Mint report however said that Khera was leaving to pursue “entrepreneurial opportunities.”

Image credit: Arti Sandhu under  CC BY SA 2.0

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