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A file photo of Manoj Kohli. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint  (Priyanka Parashar/Mint )
A file photo of Manoj Kohli. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint
(Priyanka Parashar/Mint )

Leader in the Spotlight: Manoj Kohli

Manoj Kohli had successfully embedded Airtel’s business model in Africa, says Sunil Mittal

WHO:Manoj Kohli, managing director and chief executive of Bharti Airtel Ltd’s international operations, who is moving back to India in a larger role.

WHY: After setting up Bharti Airtel’s base in Africa by being based out of Nairobi, Kenya, Kohli is now returning to Bharti Airtel’s Indian headquarters in a larger role involving decision-making related to acquisitions and global collaborations.

Before moving to Africa, Kohli was chief executive and joint managing director heading Airtel’s domestic operations. He will now be replaced by Christian de Faria, who was earlier South African telecommunications firm MTN’s group commercial officer.

REASON BEHIND THE MOVE: While Kohli will still head Airtel’s international operations (with Faria reporting to him), he will also be responsible for business development, mergers and acquisitions and strategic matters. Analysts read this as a move to bolster Airtel’s India leadership, after the chief executive of its Indian and South Asian telecommunications operations, Sanjay Kapoor left the company in January.

In a company statement, Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal said Manoj Kohli had successfully embedded Airtel’s business model in Africa and helped establish the Airtel brand there. But Airtel’s African operations are still to turn profitable, and were unable to the meet the financial targets that Manoj Kohli had set during his tenure.

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