06 January 2017
| Alan Burkitt-Gray
Bharti Airtel has appointed former Telenor executive Rajeev Sethi as its chief commercial officer for its African operations, replacing Raghunath Mandava, who became CEO of Airtel Africa on 1 January.
Sethi left Telenor’s Bangladesh mobile
business, Grameenphone, in October 2016 "to pursue new
opportunities". He was previously chief marketing officer of
Telenor in India and earlier of Uninor, the old name for the
business before Telenor took 100% control in 2012.
New Airtel Africa CEO Mandava said: "With his
vast experience across a range of developing markets, Rajeev
will contribute immensely in accelerating our growth
Sethi will be will be responsible for formulation and
implementation of customer-centric commercial strategies across
the 15 African countries where Airtel operates, said the
company this week.
At the same time Christian Defaria, executive chairman of
Airtel Africa, has been promoted to be chairman of Bharti
Airtel International, the group’s
Netherlands-registered holding company. Defaria is himself a
former CEO of Airtel Africa.
Sethi has left the Telenor group when the Norwegian operator is
facing increased controversy for its Asian operations. In
December 2016 the board of the company expressed its faith in
group CEO Sigve Brekke after controversy over his handling of
operations in the region, which he headed before being promoted
to the group leadership in 2015.
The acting CEO of Grameenphone, replacing Sethi, is
Petter-Børre Furberg, who was founding CEO of Telenor’s Myanmar start-up in