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New Delhi: Bharti Airtel Ltd, the world’s third largest communications services provider, has restructured its Africa operations for the second time since the Indian company acquired the assets in 2010.

As part of the restructuring, Bharti Airtel Africa’s managing director and chief executive, Christian Defaria, has been designated executive chairman, Airtel Africa, Bharti said in a statement on Tuesday. Defaria will lead all matters relating to legal, regulatory affairs, shareholders and mergers and acquisitions.

Bharti’s director-customer experience for India and South Asia, Raghunath Mandava, will take over as chief operating officer, Airtel Africa—responsible for all commercial operations. Mandava joined Bharti in 2003 and has held several top positions, including director–operations (India) and chief marketing officer (India).

Bharti Airtel’s Delhi circle chief executive officer (CEO), Sarang Kanade, will take over Mandava’s current position and will report to Gopal Vittal, CEO–India and South Asia.

Bharti has also changed its organizational structure in Africa. According to the new cluster-based design, the 15 African operating firms will be classified into eight clusters, with cluster heads reporting to Mandava. “The new cluster-based organization design will provide an enabling environment to the teams. The appointment of Raghu will help leverage the platform and sharpen our market focus and strengthen the innovation pipeline," Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman said in the statement. “We remain fully committed to Africa and will continue to invest in the growth of our operations."

The last time Bharti restructured its Africa operations, it categorized the countries of operation based on where they were market leaders and where they were not, keeping Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo as a third category. When Bharti took over the Africa assets in 2010, the 17 countries were categorized based on language spoken—anglophone for English speaking and francophone for French speaking. Nigeria formed a third category on its own.

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