Airtel appoints chairman and COO in new-look African unit

17 February 2016 | Jason McGee-Abe

Bharti Airtel has appointed a chairman and COO for its redesigned cluster-based Africa operations.

Christian Defaria, MD and CEO of Airtel Africa, has been elevated to the position of executive chairman and will now lead all matters relating to legal, regulatory affairs, shareholders as well as M&A.

Raghunath Mandava becomes COO and will be fully responsible for the commercial operations of Airtel Africa. Madava, who joined Airtel in 2003, will relocate from Nairobi where he is currently director of customer experience, India and South Asia.

“Christian has done an excellent job by streamlining the operations, strengthening the leadership teams across Africa while enhancing the image of Airtel brand across Africa,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel.

“We believe we have a strong platform to accelerate our journey towards profitability and market leadership and the new cluster-based organisation design will provide an enabling environment to the teams.”

As per the new cluster based-organisation design, the 15 African opcos will now be classified into eight clusters with all cluster heads reporting to Mandava.

The operator believes the new design will enhance the level of its empowerment and enable faster decision-making.