Airtel rejigs Africa organization structure

Telecom services provider Bharti Airtel announced changes to key personnel for its Africa operations. 

“The announcement follows a new structure of Airtel’s operations in which all operating countries will now be clustered into four Strategic Business Units (SBUs) whose leaders will report into the MD & CEO – Africa with effect from 1stApril 2014,” it said.


Africa has been dragging Airtel’s overall performance due to high costs and low margins.

VG Somasekhar has been appointed Executive Operations Director of the SBU clustering Zambia, Congo B, Malawi, Burkina, Niger, Chad, Madagascar and Seychelles.  Somasekhar has been Managing Director for Airtel Uganda since December 2010.  He has delivered consistent business growth to make Uganda one of Airtel’s most profitable businesses in Africa.

Christophe Soulet has been appointed as Executive Operations Director of the second SBU consisting of Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Gabon, Uganda, Sierra Leone and Rwanda.  

Amongst other leadership roles, Soulet has worked with Millicom as Chief Operating & Executive Officer – Tigo DRC, as Chief Executive Officer – Ghana & DRC,  Chief Regional Officer – Ghana, DRC & Chad  and as Chief Regional Officer – Africa. Whilst at Millicom, Christophe led and executed a  solid Africa strategy that resulted in high double-digit year on year revenue. He also coached and built winning leadership teams across Africa.  

Making the announcement Airtel Africa CEO Christian de Faria said: “These two business leaders have distinguished themselves with their exceptional understanding of the African telecoms landscape. We will leverage their experience, leadership and understanding of the African market to accelerate our market leadership opportunities and develop team capabilities as we seek to take our brand to the next level.”

Mr. de Faria also stated that both Mr. Segun Ogunsanya and Mr. Louis Lubala, both exceptional business leaders, will continue to lead Nigeria and DRC, the other two business units.

Following Mr. Somasekhar appointment, Mr. Arindam Chakrabarty who is currently  Chief Commercial Officer for Airtel Uganda will be acting as the Managing Director until a new Managing Director is appointed.  

Present in 17 African countries, Airtel is the largest telecoms service provider across the continent in terms of geographical reach and had over 63.7 million customers at the end of quarter ended March 31, 2013. Globally, Airtel is ranked as the 4th largest mobile services provider in terms of customer base.