Bharti Shuffles Its Pack

Indian corporate giant Bharti Enterprises has restructured its upper tiers of management in an effort to empower its separate business units, and that means changes at the top for India's biggest mobile operator, Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL).

Akhil Gupta, previously joint managing director of Bharti Airtel, is now deputy Group CEO and managing director of Bharti Enterprises, a newly created position. He will run the company's Financial Services and Software businesses in his new role. (See India's Going Mobile! 52M New Subs in H1.)

But Gupta will retain some management responsibilities for the conglomerate's telecom activities by remaining on Airtel's board and becoming the vice chairman and managing director of Bharti Infratel Ltd., the company's mobile tower asset spinoff that's backed by a number of major international investors. (See KKR Invests in Bharti Infratel, Bharti Infratel Gets $250M, Bharti Sells Tower Stake, and Upheaval in India's Mobile Market.)

Airtel's president and CEO, Manoj Kohli, meanwhile, has been "elevated as the CEO and joint Managing Director" of the fixed and mobile services firm.

Bharti Enterprises chairman and Group CEO Sunil Bharti Mittal remains as Airtel's other joint managing director.

At the end of June, Bharti Airtel had 69.4 million mobile customers, giving it a 24.2 percent market share. The company's Telemedia division, which provides fixed-line services to business and residential customers, had 2.4 million customers, of which 854,000 (35.6 percent) were broadband subscribers. (See Bharti Reports Q1 Growth.)

Keeping Kohli as a management figurehead will help minimize disruption at Airtel as the country's service providers enter a crucial period in network and service development ahead of the imminent auction of 3G mobile spectrum. (See India Edges Closer to 3G and A Guide to India's Telecom Operators.)

The challenges facing India's operators as they plan for mobile and fixed broadband growth are being discussed in a free-to-view Webinar (online presentation), Preparing for Broadband 2.0, that takes place during India business hours on Wednesday, August 6.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

For more on this topic, check out the coming Light Reading Webinar: Preparing for Broadband 2.0.

Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to Broadband 2.0: Making the Business Case, a 2-day roadshow that will provide attendees from among India's fixed and wireless carrier communities with an exclusive and intensive overview of how broadband wireline and wireless services can be enhanced to improve ARPU, ROI, and churn. The event will be staged in New Delhi on September 10 and Mumbai on September 12.

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