Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Business of Tech

Airtel Kenya has a new MD

Article Image
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).

The Staff, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub


Five mobility startups to watch in 2024

Connecting Africa has compiled a list of five mobility startups that are making a difference in the communities they serve.


Orange Ventures, Digital Africa promise more funding for startups

Orange Ventures and Digital Africa are teaming up to invest more in tech startups in Africa and the Middle East through Digital Africa's Fuz program and the Orange Digital Center network.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Follow us on X

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Upcoming events

Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 11-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Africa Tech Perspectives


Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.


The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.


Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Guest Perspectives


How e-mobility could transform Africa's transport sector

By Francis Hook

ICT analyst Francis Hook delves into Africa's e-mobility sector and unpacks the challenges faced locally and the benefits the move to electric vehicles could bring to urban transport systems.


Omdia View: April 2024

By Omdia Analysts

April 2024's telecoms highlights in the Middle East and Africa included a license for Starlink in Ghana, new mobile termination rates in Ethiopia, and 6G trials in Bahrain – that and more in the latest Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up
Tag id test-002