Telecom major Bharti Airtel announced restructuring of its African telecom business by grouping operations in 15 countries into 8 clusters along with change in management structure. The company has elevated Airtel Africa MD and CEO Christian Defaria to the position of Executive Chairman of Airtel Africa. Also, the operator appointed its director of Customer Experience (India and South Asia), Raghunath Mandava, as Chief Operating Officer of Airtel Africa.
“We believe we have a strong platform to accelerate our journey towards profitability and market leadership and the new cluster-based organization design will provide an enabling environment to the teams,” Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said in a statement.
In the third quarter ended December 31, 2015, Africa unit posted net loss of USD 74 million as compared to USD 136 million in the corresponding quarter last year. In constant currency terms, Africa revenues grew by 3.1 per cent to USD 1,026 million as compared to USD 995 million in the corresponding quarter of last year.
Airtel moved its director of Customer Experience, India and South Asia Raghunath Mandava as Chief Operating Officer, Airtel Africa. Mandava, who has been with Airtel since 2003, will relocate to Nairobi and will be fully responsible for the commercial operations. As per the new cluster-based organization design, operations in 15 African countries will now be classified into eight clusters with all cluster heads reporting to Mandava.
“The appointment of Mandava will help leverage the platform and sharpen our market focus and strengthen the innovation pipeline. We remain fully committed to Africa and will continue to invest in the growth of our operations,” Mittal said.
Airtel entered the African market in 2010 by acquiring telecom business of Kuwait-based Zain Telecom in 17 countries for USD 10.7 billion. However the Indian telecom major is reducing its footprint in Africa to improve financial performance. In January Airtel announced sale of its operations in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone to France-based Orange.
Airtel in July last year announced entering into an agreement with Orange to sell its four subsidiaries Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville and Sierra Leone, in Africa. The agreements for the remaining two countries have lapsed.