In a top-level leadership change, telecom giant Bharti Airtel has announced to elevate DTH business head Sunil Taldar as director (market operations) to oversee Airtel’s operations nationally and is likely to redesignate him chief operating officer (COO) in the near future.
This comes following a top-level meeting to decide the successor of the present company COO Ajai Puri who is set to retire at the end of December after a 17-year stint in the company.
The top-level leadership role change was announced in an internal company memo from Airtel chief executive Gopal Vittal. “Sunil (Taldar), who has over the years built a very successful DTH business, will take over from Ajai (Puri), effective December 1, and in his new role will lead Airtel’s channel and operations organisation, and all geography CEOs will report to him,” Vittal said.
According to Vittal, Nagananda, Bharti Airtel’s CEO for the “Direct to Customer Channels” business, and Ayan Sarkar, distribution business head, would also report to Taldar.
Vittal said Puri had “significantly transformed” the telco’s go-to-market capabilities and was also instrumental in the company achieving “a lifetime high in terms of revenue market share” in the mobility business. Puri, he added, “would play an advisory role” to Taldar during December 2021 as part of the transition.
While lauding Puri’s contribution, he said that he was “a sheet anchor for running Airtel’s operations, particularly in the past nine years, when the company had seen massive cycles of disruption and turbulence”.
Separately, Airtel has named Manu Sood, CEO (Upper North) as the new Category Leader & CEO of the DTH business, while Vir Inder Nath has been elevated to the role of Category leader & CEO, home broadband operations.
Confirming the developments, a company spokesperson said the latest appointments “demonstrate the depth of Airtel’s leadership team and the high-quality talent available within the company”.
The latest developments come with Airtel in the process of rejigging its corporate structure that would see the listed parent house the digital and infrastructure assets while moving the telecom businesses to a newly created arm, Airtel Ltd.
The reorganisation is likely to sharpen the Mittal-led entity’s focus on digital operations with an aim to monetise them in the future. The new structure is also likely to remove the telecom regulatory overhang on Airtel’s digital businesses.
Bharti Airtel is also set to raise up to Rs 21,000 shares through a rights issue to build a war chest to deepen its 4G network and prepare for the upcoming auction of 5G airwaves and roll out the nextgen technology in India.