New Delhi: Bharti Airtel Ltd., the world’s fourth-largest telecom service provider by subscribers, announced a recast of its Africa operations, dividing the 17 countries in the continent into four strategic business units (SBU).

V.G. Somasekhar has been appointed executive operations director of the SBU clustering Zambia, Congo-Brazzaville, Malawi, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Madagascar and Seychelles, Bharti said in a statement. Somasekhar was earlier the managing director for Airtel Uganda since December 2010 and responsible for making Uganda one of Airtel’s most profitable businesses in Africa, the Bharti statement said.

Christophe Soulet has been appointed as executive operations director of the second SBU consisting of Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Gabon, Uganda, Sierra Leone and Rwanda, the statement said.

Segun Ogunsanya and Louis Lubala will continue to lead Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo, the other two business units.

All four SBU heads will report to Airtel Africa CEO Christian De Faria. The reorganization follows last months global recast where Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were added to the South Asia part of Bharti Airtel’s operations under Gopal Vittal.

The restructuring changes the earlier structure under the former Airtel International business CEO Manoj Kohli, where the divisions were made based on the common spoken language and cultural similarities. The company had separate divisions for Nigeria, Anglophone and Francophone markets.

The new divisions have been demarcated based on the position of the operator in the local markets.