Bharti moves from product-oriented structure to consumer-oriented structure

Bharti Airtel, India’s biggest telecom company, has again reorganized its business structure as the company grapples with reducing profit margins in an increasingly commoditized communications market.

Atul Bindal, President of Mobile Business, has been moved out and from the preliminary signs, it looks like the CEO Sanjay Kapoor’s hands have been strengthened.

Bharti has moved away from the vertical-focused business divisions, such as Mobile, DTH etc. and has moved to a customer-focused business structure.

Among others, it has created a new “Market Operations group” to buld “a robust ‘go-to-market’ strategy” and “leverage Bharti Airtel’s vast distribution reach,” it added.

“This vertical will take products and services to customers in South Asia with speed and efficiency.. Market Operations in India & South Asia will be divided in three regions, each headed by an Operations Director: the North, East & Bangladesh operations will be headed by Ajai Puri; South & Sri Lanka operations will be headed by Vineet Taneja; and operations in the West will be headed by Raghunath Mandava (along with National Distribution portfolio),” Bharti said.

K Srinivas, Ajai Puri, Raghunath Mandava and Vineet Taneja and head of enterprise division, Drew Kelton, will report to Sanjay Kapoor while Bindal “will move into a role within the Group,” it added.

In addition to the “Market Operations group,” it has created two more groups — Consumer business group and Enterprise business group.

The Consumer group will absorb its current Mobile, Telemedia, Digital TV, and other emerging businesses (like M-commerce, M-health, M-advertising etc groups.

The Enterprise group will perhaps be the least affected as it will continue to function more or less at present, selling communications solutions to big companies. It will continue to be headed by Drew Kelton, who will also report to Sanjay Kapoor.

“This new organization structure marks a major step towards building an organization of the future. Customers are at the core of our business and with this new structure we are proactively creating an integrated customer centric organisation,” Sunil Mittal, chairman of the group, said.

In the last three years, Bharti has been struggling to hold on to its market share in the country’s fast growing mobile market. It has, however, consistently lost market-share when counted in terms of number of subscribers, though it continues to be far ahead of the others in value and revenue metrics.

Sunil Mittal has a history of trying out various corporate structures with the dual aim of maintaining the leadership in its cash-cow and primary business — wireless mobile connectivity — while also not suffocating the new and emerging businesses like retail and mobile payments etc..