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Airtel names new CEO for Africa

New African head will be based in Nairobi and report to Manoj Kohli

Telecoms, Operators, Bharti Airtel

Indian telecoms group Bharti Airtel has appointed Christian de Faria as CEO of Airtel Africa, effective 1 January, 2014.

De Faria will join Airtel Africa on September 16, 2013. He will be based in Nairobi and will report to Manoj Kohli, who currently heads up the African unit as part of his role as CEO of international operations.

Airtel said that de Faria will immediately take charge of Anglophone operations and will start a "comprehensive orientation", encompassing Airtel Africa HQ functions, Francophone and Nigeria Region before assuming overall responsibility as CEO at the start of the new year.

De Faria has more than 30 years of industry experience around the world with companies including MTN, Telekom Malaysia, Discvision, Deutsche Telecom and Grundig.

Most recently, de Faria was group commercial officer at MTN for two years until January 2013. Before this, he was executive vice president at MTN responsible for the operations in West and Central Africa Region.

Manoj Kohli, MD & CEO International, Airtel, will relocate to India at the start of 2014. He will continue to lead Airtel's international operations and provide governance oversight to Airtel operations in Africa, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He will also lead strategic issues including M&A, tower sharing, global partnerships and regulation.

Kohli will continue his position on the boards of Bharti Airtel International Netherlands B.V. and Airtel Networks Ltd, Nigeria.

Airtel said in a statement that Kohli has successfully led the company's foray into Africa over the past three years. He has also successfully completed the integration and transformation of Airtel's operations in Africa and more recently integrated the Bangladesh and Sri Lanka businesses with international operations.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman, Bharti Airtel, said: "We have built a strong foundation for the next phase of growth of our Africa operations and are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. Manoj has successfully embedded our business model and the Airtel brand in Africa, and will now provide governance oversight to the international operations and be involved with the group strategic matters. I also take this opportunity to welcome Christian and am confident that his vast experience, particularly in Africa, will add immense value to our operations."