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Gopal Vittal named new Bharti Airtel CEO

16-January-2013
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Gopal Vittal named new Bharti Airtel CEO

After a stint of almost 15 years at Bharti Group, Sanjay Kapoor, CEO – India and South Asia, Bharti Airtel, has decided to put in his papers. Gopal Vittal, who rejoined Airtel in April 2012 as Group Director – Special Projects, will take over as CEO – India, Bharti Airtel.

Vittal will report to the Chairman and Managing Director. The senior level organisational changes will be effective from March 1, 2013.

Kapoor will continue his association with the Bharti Group and be on the Board of Indus Towers and Bharti Global. He will continue in his current role until February 28, 2013 and will be available to assist on key matters until March 31, 2013.

Kapoor joined Bharti Cellular as its COO in 1998 and soon took over as its CEO to develop Delhi Circle as the foundation stone of Airtel’s growth. As CEO – India and South Asia, he 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.

Vittal has spent the past year across the Singtel Group in South Asia/Australia, Softbank and Silicon Valley understanding emerging trends in data and internet space. In his new role as the CEO – India, he will be responsible for defining and delivering the business strategy and providing overall leadership for Airtel’s India operations. Key focus areas for Vittal would be enhancing market share and margins along with growth of alternate revenue streams including 3G, Data, Airtel Money and Value Added Services.

Commenting on the appointment Group Chief Sunil Bharti Mittal said, “I am delighted to announce the appointment of Gopal Vittal as CEO – India, Bharti Airtel.  Gopal worked closely with me during his earlier stint as Director Marketing in Airtel. He has an outstanding track record at Unilever and brings with him a wealth of experience in assimilating the consumer mindset, managing operations efficiently, winning with the customer, building brand and innovating to secure market leadership.  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.  I wish him a successful and exciting journey ahead.”

Vittal has a long and illustrious career spanning over 20 years with Hindustan Unilever. In his last stint at HUL, Gopal was instrumental in leading the US $3.5 billion Home and Personal Care Division from years of uncompetitive growth to delivering exceptional market performance, said an official release.

South Asia operations i.e. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka would report into the CEO (International) effective March 1, 2013. However, various business leaders and functions from Airtel India would continue to support South Asia operations in this revised arrangement.

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