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Business of Tech

Airtel Kenya has a new MD

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Airtel Kenya has announced a new managing director, Ashish Malhotra, who joined on July 1, 2022 to replace long-serving MD Prasanta Das Sarma as the telco eyes its next phase of growth.

Malhotra has over 21 years' experience in the telecoms sector and was previously the group head of sales and marketing at Airtel Africa, leading the function in 14 Airtel operations on the continent.

Airtel's board said in a statement that Malhotra was instrumental in doubling revenues, streamlining pricing principles and building strong unique selling propositions across the countries.

He holds an MBA from Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies (SIMS) in India and a Bachelor of Commerce from Sri Ram College of Commerce in India.

Next chapter for Das Sarma

Malhotra replaces Das Sarma, who has led Airtel's Kenyan operation since January 2017 and who left his role on June 30, 2022 to become the CEO of Airtel Africa's Fiber Co.

Airtel said he key to Airtel's fast growth in Kenya and helped increase the subscriber base from 5 million to 16 million during his tenure.

Airtel Africa operates in 14 countries in Africa, primarily in East Africa and Central and West Africa. In Kenya it is the second-biggest operator with about 25% market share, behind dominant Safaricom which has about 67% market share according to market research company Omdia.

Chairman change

The Board has also appointed Louis Onyango Otieno as its new chairman.

Otieno brings over 30 years of leadership experience in ICT across private and public sectors, with a proven track record as a board member in companies across industries, the board said.

New Airtel Kenya board chairman Louis Onyango Otieno.  (Source: Airtel Kenya)
New Airtel Kenya board chairman Louis Onyango Otieno.
(Source: Airtel Kenya)

He began his career at EEC Financial Services in New York, rising to the position of assistant VP. He joined Microsoft in 1997, leading the business in Africa in different capacities for 21 years.

Otieno holds an MBA from Long Island University, Brooklyn in New York and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry in New York.

Otieno serves on a number of boards including as chairman of Absa Asset Management Limited.

*Top image is of new Airtel Kenya MD Ashish Malhotra. (Source: Airtel Kenya).

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