Bharti Airtel appoints new managing director - CNBC Africa

Bharti Airtel appoints new managing director

East Africa

by Elayne Wangalwa 0

Telecommunication service provider, Bharti Airtel has appointed a new managing director. PHOTO: Live Mint

From 1 August, Gutjahr will take office in a move to drive the firm’s strategic leadership in Uganda.

According to Christian de Faria, CEO at Airtel Africa, the appointment of Gutjahr as MD highlights the firm’s commitment to significantly improve access to the telecommunication sector especially in terms of connecting to internet services in the continent.

“In Mr. Gutjahr, I am confident that Airtel will continue to enhance the benefits of telecommunications services for the communities in Uganda. I want to warmly welcome him to the Airtel family,” Faria saidin a statement.

Prior to the appointment, Gutjahr was CEO in Tigo Paraguay, the biggest operation in the Millicom Group, a specialist global emerging markets mobile operator. Gutjahr also had a brief stint as CEO for the Tigo operation in Rwanda in 2011, and was CEO for Tigo in Chad between 2008 and 2010.

(READ MORE: MTN, Bharti Airtel to collaborate in remittance partnership)

In his new role, Gutjahr is expected to provide further access to mobile commerce services, and help build Airtel’s growing brand in the East African operation and also expand the company’s 3G footprint.

Early this month, the firm launched a campaign dubbed, ‘Switch on’ in order to strengthen the company’s market share and position it as the leading Internet service provider in Uganda.

Gutjahr takes over from VG Somasekhar who had been MD for Airtel Uganda since December 2010. Somaskhar was appointed Executive Operations Director of the Strategic Business Unit clustering Zambia, Congo, Malawi, Burkina, Niger, Chad, Madagascar and Seychelles.

Last year, Airtel Uganda merged with Warid Telecom. This move saw the firm increase its customer base to 7.4 million from 4.6 million.

Uganda’s mobile market is currently dominated by Bharti Airtel and MTN, followed by Uganda Telecom. Other telecommunication providers are Smile Telecom, Smart Telecom, Sure Telecom, K2 Telecom and Africell.

(READ MORE: MTN and Bharti Airtel thrive in telecoms space)

Airtel has operations in 17 African countries and over 68.3 million subscribers on the continent.