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Airtel Africa has a new CEO

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Segun Ogunsanya has been appointed as the new CEO of Airtel Africa, replacing long-serving leader, Raghunath Mandava, who is retiring.

The telecoms company, which has operations in 14 countries across Africa, said Ogunsanya will take over on October 1, 2021.

Ogunsanya is currently the CEO of Airtel Nigeria and the group said his successor will be named soon. Nigeria is Airtel's largest market in Africa.

Mandava worked for Bharti Airtel for 13 years and at Airtel Africa for five years as CEO but says he feels now is the right time to take a sabbatical.

"It has been a privilege to serve in the African continent and I cherish my time here," he said.

Outgoing Airtel Africa CEO Raghunath Mandava
Outgoing Airtel Africa CEO Raghunath Mandava

"The last five years have been an exhilarating journey where we have been able to turnaround and transform the business into a strong high growth and profitable company. We have been able to build the business with our unique management and problem solving approach to bring in substantial performance improvement.

"I am very proud of what we have achieved over the past five years in Africa, and I look forward to seeing the Company make even greater progress over the coming years," Mandava added.

Mandava will retire as CEO and as a director of Airtel Africa at the end of September but will available to advise the new CEO, chairman and board for a nine-month period.

Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal thanked Mandava "for being instrumental in successfully leading and transforming Airtel Africa into a powerhouse telecommunications and mobile money company."

Airtel Africa operates in Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Gabon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Madagascar and the Seychelles.

New boss

Before joining Airtel in 2012, Ogunsanya held leadership roles at Coca-Cola in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya (as MD and CEO). He previously served as the MD of Nigerian Bottling Company and group head of retail banking operations at Ecobank Transnational, covering 28 countries in Africa. He is an electronics engineer and also a chartered accountant.

"He has displayed significant drive and energy in turning around the Nigeria business by focusing on network modernization, distribution, and operational efficiency. It is this commitment, together with his industry experience, strategic vision, constant customer focus and proven record of delivery that will enable him to continue to deliver our strategic objectives and to lead the Group in the next stages of its development," Bharti Mittal added of Ogunsanya's appointment.

"Having been part of the Airtel Africa journey for the past nine years, I am looking forward to taking up the role of [CEO]. On a personal note, as an African, I feel honored to have the opportunity to lead a Group that continues to make a difference to millions of people, bridge the digital divide and expand financial inclusion. This is an exciting opportunity to position Airtel Africa for further success in a dynamic continent full of potential," Ogunsanya said of the career move.

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*Top image is of new Airtel Africa CEO Segun Ogunsanya (Source: supplied).

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

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