Bharti AirtelBSE -0.52 % named Wim Vanhelleputte its new executive director for a key business unit within Africa, a region where the telecom operator is still struggling to turn around its loss-making operations.Vanhelleputte joins from the MTN Group, where he was the chief executive of the South Africa-based telecom major’s Ivory Coast unit. At Bharti Airtel, he replaces Somasekhar VG, who the company said is leaving to pursue personal interests.
Vanhelleputte will be responsible for Bharti Airtel’s strategic business unit comprising Gabon, Congo B, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Madagascar and the Seychelles.
The appointment seeks to accelerate Airtel’s market leadership opportunities and develop the team capabilities across the cluster, Airtel Africa Chief Executive Christian de Faria said. Bharti Airtel recently became the third largest mobile operator in the world based on the number of subscribers. As per latest data published by Ovum’s World Cellular Information Service, Bharti Airtel has more than 303 million mobile subscribers across its operations.