Airtel has hired former Senior Vice President of Commercial & Innovation at MTN Group Christian de Faria as CEO Airtel Africa in a move the firm expects to help it consolidate its gains and increase its market share on the continent.
Faria will join Airtel Africa starting September 16, 2013 and based out of Nairobi and will report to Manoj Kohli who is heading back to India as MD & CEO (International), in-charge of Airtel’s operations in Africa, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
With over 30 years industry experience across multiple geographies, diverse sectors and organisations such as MTN, Telekom Malaysia, Discvision, Deutsche Telecom and Grundig, Christian will immediately take charge of Anglophone operations and will be oriented on Airtel Africa HQ functions, Francophone and Nigeria Regions before he assumes overall responsibility as CEO-Airtel Africa from January 1, 2014.
According to Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Airtel, “We have built a strong foundation for the next phase of growth of our Africa operations and are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. Manoj has successfully embedded our business model and the Airtel brand in Africa, and will now provide governance oversight to the international operations and be involved with the group strategic matters. I also take this opportunity to welcome Christian and am confident that his vast experience, particularly in Africa, will add immense value to our operations. I welcome Manoj back to India and wish Christian a successful future.”
Christian, for the last seven years, was associated with MTN where he held senior leadership positions including Executive Vice President, responsible for the operations for West and Central Africa Region and later as Group Commercial Officer for two years until Jan 2013. As CEO – Airtel Africa, Christian will be responsible for providing overall leadership for the African operations and will be fully empowered to manage its P&L. He will lead the growth agenda across markets and build key skills and capabilities within the organization. He will also be co-opted on the Board of Bharti Airtel International Netherlands B.V. and on the Boards of major Opcos in Africa.
Kohli will relocate to India effective Jan 1, 2014 and will continuing to lead Airtel’s international operations and providing governance oversight to Airtel Africa, Airtel Bangladesh and Airtel Sri Lanka. He will also lead Airtel’s strategic issues such as in-market consolidation via M&A, key matters relating to Towerco, global partnerships, global sourcing from key Partners and strategic Regulatory aspects.
Manoj will also be be responsible for the Business Development/ M&A function for the telecom business and be involved with the group strategic matters. Manoj will continue his position on the Boards of Bharti Airtel International Netherlands B.V. and Airtel Networks Ltd, Nigeria.
Manoj, who is currently based at Airtel’s Africa headquarters in Nairobi, has successfully led the Company’s foray into Africa over the past three years. He has also successfully completed the integration and transformation of Airtel’s operations in Africa and more recently integrated the Bangladesh and Sri Lanka businesses with the international operations. Manoj has also led the implementation of business model changes, institutionalized the Airtel DNA and established key stakeholder and government relationships in Africa.