GSMA picks Orange Group’s Stéphane Richard as its Chair as Sunil Bharti Mittal exits to focus on Airtel

The GSMA Board has elected Stéphane Richard, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Orange Group as Chair to oversee the strategic direction of the organisation, which represents more than 750 of the world’s mobile operators, as well as over 350 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem.

“I am honoured to be elected to serve as Chair of the GSMA and look forward to working closely with the rest of the Board, the GSMA leadership team and our entire membership to address the critical issues facing our industry and our customers,” said Stéphane Richard, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Orange. “Mobile operators and our wider industry have a key role to play in promoting a safer and more inclusive digital world, while building the infrastructure and services that will carry us forward as we enter this new era of intelligent connectivity.”

Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises and current GSMA Chair, will step down from the Board at the end of 2018. Mittal served as a member of the GSMA Board from 2005 through 2008 and then again as Chair from 2016 through 2018.

“The mobile world has changed tremendously since I first served on the GSMA Board, but the industry remains as dynamic and exciting as ever,” commented Mittal. “While our industry continues to achieve new milestones, there is still much to be done to connect the unconnected and foster the digital economy. Under Stéphane’s leadership, I am confident that the GSMA will continue to strongly advocate for its members, drive the adoption of new technologies and deliver initiatives to protect our planet and its citizens.”

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The GSMA also elected new members of the GSMA Board for the two-year period from January 2019 through December 2020. Chua Sock Koong, Group Chief Executive Officer of Singtel Group as Deputy Chair. The GSMA Board Members for the 2019-2020 Term has 26 members, including 25 operator representatives from the world’s largest operator groups as well as smaller, independent operators with global representation.

The GSMA’s Director General Mats Granryd also serves on the GSMA Board.

The GSMA Board for the 2019-2020 term comprises;

  • Juan Carlos Archila, Executive VP of International Relationships, América Móvil.
  • Susan Johnson, Executive VP, Global Connections and Supply Chain, AT&T.
  • Jamaludin bin Ibrahim, Managing Director/President and Group CEO Axiata Group Berhad.
  • Gopal Vittal, CEO Bharti Airtel; 
  • Dr. Li Zhengmao, Executive VP China Mobile, 
  • Liu Guiqing, Executive VP China Telecom;
  •  Dr. Shao Guanglu, Executive VP China Unicom;
  •  Srini Gopalan, Member of the Board of Management, Deutsche Telekom;
  •  Hatem Dowidar, Chief Executive Officer, International, Etisalat Group; 
  • Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA; 
  • Christian Salbaing, Deputy Chairman, Europe, Hutchison;
  •  Rob Shuter, Group President and Chief Executive Officer, MTN Group; 
  • Alexey Kornya, President and Chief Executive Officer, MTS;
  •  Kazuhiro Yoshizawa, President and Chief Executive Officer, NTT DOCOMO;
  •  Stéphane Richard, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Orange Group; 
  • Mathew Oommen, President and Member of the Board of Directors, Reliance Jio; 
  • Chua Sock Koong, Group Chief Executive Officer, Singtel Group;
  •  Jung Ho Park, President and Chief Executive Officer, SK Telecom; 
  • Marcelo Claure, Chief Operating Officer, SoftBank Group; 
  • Eng. Nasser S Al Nasser, Chief Executive Officer, STC Group; 
  • Julio Linares López, Member of the Board of Telefónica Companies, Telefónica;
  •  Sigve Brekke, President and Chief Executive Officer, Telenor Group;
  •  Andrew Penn, Chief Executive Officer, Telstra; 
  • Kaan Terzioğlu, Chief Executive Officer, Turkcell;
  • Rima Qureshi, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Verizon; 
  • Vivek Badrinath, Chief Executive for the Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific Region, Vodafone Group.
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Sunil Bharti Mittal will focus on Bharti Airtel Ltd and help drive Airtel Africa, the holding company of Airtel’s operations in 14 countries in the continent. Airtel Africa’s new Board of Directors includes representatives from Airtel and the investors. The Board of Directors includes Sunil Bharti Mittal himself and Raghunath Mandava, Akhil Gupta, Vishal Mahadevia, Alok Sama, Arthur Lang, Shravin Bharti Mittal and Richard Gubbins.

Airtel Africa’s newly constituted Board together brings extensive experience across industry verticals including – Telecom & ICT, financial markets as well as in technology, software development and consultancy. Additionally, the combined strength of the Board of Directors also brings wealth of industry and governance experience to further drive Airtel Africa business.

During the second quarter ending 30 September 2018, the Company’s revenues grew by 10.8% Y-o-Y led by strong growth in data and Airtel money transactions. Mobile data traffic expanded by 53% to 89 Bn MBs Y-o-Y. While data customer base increased by 32.1% to 27.1 Mn, Airtel Money customer base increased to 12.9 Mn, boosting the total transaction value on Airtel Money platform by 31% to $ 6.3 billion. The Company also witnessed an improvement of EBITDA margin by 3.9% Y-o-Y to 37.1%.

In most of the markets in which it operates, Airtel Africa ranks amongst the top two operators. With 4G services live in ten countries and in process of rollouts in most others, Airtel Africa is well placed to capture a significant market share of the rapidly growing data demand across countries.

Airtel Africa operates in Nigeria, Chad, Congo B, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, Niger, Kenya, Malawi, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Rwanda.

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