Former Telenor executive Rajeev Sethi to be CCO of Airtel Africa

Former Telenor executive Rajeev Sethi to be CCO of Airtel Africa

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 journey.”

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 2013.


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