New Delhi: Bharti Airtel Ltd, India’s largest mobile phone services firm by customers, announced top management changes, elevating Sanjay Kapoor, head of its mobile business, in a move that made it apparent that he would succeed current chief executive Manoj Kohli.
The change came on a day the phone firm said Kohli had sold 123,000 shares in two tranches on 6 and 9 March. Kohli said the two announcements were in no way related and the recast was planned from the “latter half” of 2008.
Kohli, the company said, “will increasingly focus on strategy development, governance and organization development”. In a brief phone interview, Kohli, joint managing director and CEO, said he would stay away from “day-to-day operations and focus on future transformation, outsourcing, regulation and leadership development”.
Still there: Bharti Airtel’s chief executive Manoj Kohli. Ramesh Pathania / Mint
Kapoor, earlier president of mobile services, has been made deputy CEO and given additional charge of business-to-consumer services such as fixed line, broadband and Internet protocol TV (grouped under tele-media) as also direct-to-home TV services. Atul Bindal has been made president of mobile services; he earlier headed telemedia. K. Srinivas, an executive director heading operations in east India and Sri Lanka is now joint president of telemedia.
Kohli earlier in the day said he sold shares in Bharti Airtel for personal reasons. He still holds 180,000 options in the firm, some of which have vested. “By mid-2010, they will completely vest with me,” he added.
Shares of Bharti Airtel fell 6.4% to Rs550.30 on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Thursday on the news. The bourse’s benchmark index rose 2.7%. It was the steepest fall for the stock in four months.
(Saikat Chatterjee of ‘Bloomberg’, and ‘Reuters’ contributed to this story.)