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Airtel appoints Telenor’s Rajeev Sethi as Chief Commercial Officer of Airtel Africa

Bharti Airtel has appointed Rajeev Sethi as the Chief Commercial Officer for its Africa operations. In his new role, Sethi will be responsible for devising and implementing customer-centric commercial strategies across all the 15 African countries where Airtel operates in. He will report to Raghunath Mandava, MD & CEO, Airtel Africa.

Sethi will focus on the Consumer and Enterprise Businesses segment taking care of products and pricing, distribution, brand and customer experience.

Prior to Airtel, Sethi headed Telenor-owned Grameenphone as its CEO in Bangladesh for a year. He also worked as Chief Marketing Officer for Telenor’s India operations between February 2013 to November 2014, according to his Linkedin profile. Sethi has an overall experience of 21 years across several industries like Telecom, IT, and Petroleum with companies like HP, Vodafone, Asian Paints among others. He also holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow (1997) and is an Electrical Engineer from Gujarat University (1993).

Recent appointments at Airtel Africa 

Last month Airtel had promoted Raghunath Mandava, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Airtel’s Africa operations as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Airtel Africa. Mandava currently heads Airtel’s operation in the African continent and is also a permanent member of the Board of Directors. In the same month Airtel had additionally appointed Christian Defaria who was the executive chairman for Airtel Africa as Chairman for Airtel International (Netherlands).

Bharti Airtel’s stake purchase in Nigeria unit

The appointment of Rajeev Sethi also comes at a time when the disputed 5% stake held by Africa’s Econet Wireless was recently acquired by Airtel in November. With this acquisition, Bharit Airtel’s controlling stake in Airtel Nigeria increased to 83.25%. Bharti Airtel originally held 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 reported a customer base of 78.14 million subscribers in the African continent as of September 2016.

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