Airtel's Gopalan to Head DT's Europe Biz

Deutsche Telekom has revealed that Bharti Airtel executive Srini Gopalan will become its new European chief next year.

The German incumbent announced plans for a board shake-up last week, indicating that a Group outsider would take over Europe responsibilities from Claudia Nemat, the operator's current board member for Europe and technology.

The move will allow Nemat to focus on technology and assume new oversight of innovation as Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) prepares to launch services on its in-development pan-European network. (See DT's Pan-Net Picks Up the Pace.)

Gopalan is currently the consumer director of Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL)'s India business and will oversee the sales, service and marketing activities of Deutsche Telekom's various European "NatCos" from January 1 next year.

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Although focused on India in his present role, Gopalan appears to have plenty of experience in the European region, having previously worked for T-Mobile UK, the former Deutsche Telekom subsidiary.

Deutsche Telekom said he was part of the management team responsible for negotiating the joint venture with Orange UK that eventually produced EE .

After leaving T-Mobile, Gopalan spent three years working as the consumer business director for Vodafone UK before joining Bharti Airtel. He has also previously worked in the financial services industry, including as managing director for Capital One.

"We're strengthening technology and IT with the new board department on the one hand, while on the other hand we're strengthening our expertise on marketing and sales with our new head of Europe, who has extensive experience with consumers," said Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Höttges in a company statement.

— Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

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