Bharti Airtel's India, South Asia CEO Kapoor to step down

New Delhi, Jan 15 (IANS) India's largest telecom service provider Bharti Airtel Tuesday said its India and South Asia chief executive officer Sanjay Kapoor will step down March 1.

Gopal Vittal, who is currently group director, special projects, will succeed Kapoor as head of of India operations, Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman and managing director of Bharti Airtel, said in a statement.

Vittal had last year joined Bharti Group from Hindustan Unilever. Vittal will report to Mittal.

"I am delighted to announce the appointment of Gopal Vittal as CEO, India, Bharti Airtel." Mittal said.

"Gopal spent his last year understanding the new wave of mobile telephony, in particular the data space and data experience. This will be extremely relevant and valuable for the next phase of Airtel's growth," he said.

Bharti Airtel did not give any reason for the change in the top management but said Kapoor has "decided to pursue his future aspirations outside of Bharti".

Kapoor joined Bharti Cellular Ltd as its chief operating officer in 1998 and soon took over as its CEO to develop Delhi Circle as the foundation stone of Airtel's growth.

As CEO for India and South Asia, Kapoor led key transformations, including the launch of Airtel's new global identity - giving it a fresh, youthful and vibrant face, realigning of the organisation from technology-facing to a customer-facing one for enhanced synergies, agility and customer elasticity, a company statement said.

Kapoor will continue his association with the Bharti Group and be on the board of Indus Towers Ltd and Bharti Global Ltd.

"Sanjay Kapoor will continue in his current role until Feb 28, 2013, and will be available to assist on key matters until March 31, 2013 ensuring a smooth transition process," the statement said.

South Asia operations of Bharti Airtel - Bangladesh and Sri Lanka -- would report to the CEO (International) of the group effective March 1, 2013. "However, various business leaders and functions from Airtel India would continue to support South Asia operations in this revised arrangement," the company said.

Share price of Bharti Airtel surged more than five percent on speculations that the company would soon hike call tariffs. The scrip closed 4.81 percent higher at Rs.345.25 after touching Rs.349.95 at the Bombay Stock Exchange.


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