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Manoj Kohli to be Bharti Airtel’s MD, Gopal Vittal joint MD

Bharti Airtel Ltd is expected to name Manoj Kohli, CEO of the international business and joint managing director (MD) of the company, as its new managing director. The board of the country’s top telecom firm is meeting on Friday to consider the proposal to make Kohli the MD as also re-designate group chief Sunil Mittal as executive chairman from his current role as chairman & MD.

Simultaneously, the recent addition to the top management team Gopal Vittal, who has come in to head Indian operations, will also be made an additional director and joint MD.

These changes comes amid media reports that the firm is looking to combine its Indian and African operations into a single business entity under a global CEO in the first half of 2013.

The development comes within two weeks of the resignation of Sanjay Kapoor, the chief executive officer (CEO) for the Indian business of Bharti Airtel. He will also continue his association with the Bharti Group and be on the board of Indus Towers Ltd and Bharti Global Ltd.

Kapoor headed Indian operations while Kohli was in charge of international business. Before moving out to head the international operations post acquisition of Zain’s African telecom assets in a multi-billion dollar deal a few years ago, Kohli has held key positions in the company including CEO and joint MD, president and CEO and head of mobile services business.

Kohli started his career with DCM Ltd and left the company as vice president, responsible for the air conditioning and refrigeration business unit, after a stint of 16 years. He subsequently worked at AlliedSignal/Honeywell, and was also heading Escotel for over 5 years as its executive director and CEO, before joining Bharti Airtel.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)

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