Sunil Taldar to head Airtel’s DTH business
Photo Credit: Shah Junaid/VCCircle

The country's largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel Ltd has appointed Sunil Taldar as director and chief executive officer (CEO) of its DTH (direct to home) business, the company said on Monday.

Taldar, who has nearly three decades experience in the FMCG industry, will be a member of the Airtel management board and report to Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India & South Asia), the company said in a press statement.

Taldar has replaced Shashi Arora, who after a stint of around five years in this role, has moved as MD & CEO, Airtel Payments Bank. The telecom major launched its payments bank in November, which also happens to be the country’s first payments bank.

“We are pleased to have Sunil as part of our leadership team and hope that his rich experience across consumer facing categories will add value to our DTH portfolio,” Vittal said on getting Taldar on board.

In his new role, Taldar will be responsible for driving growth and innovation for Airtel Digital TV, which is a key growth driver within the company’s B2C portfolio.

Taldar, who had held several senior leadership positions across multiple geographies for Mondelez in the past, was also associated with Cadbury where he is known to have transformed the company's go to market capabilities and delivered solid growth.

Airtel Digital TV claimed to have 12.4 million customers at the end of the quarter ended September 2016 and the business recorded a revenue growth of 21% and customer growth of 17% for the same period.

The direct-to-home space in the country has witnessed several vital deals, especially in the M&A category. Earlier this month, Videocon group promoters Dhoot family decided to merge the direct-to-home (DTH) firm Videocon d2h Ltd with bigger domestic rival Dish TV Ltd, to create the largest Indian listed media firm by revenues.

Prior to this deal, the DTH space in the country was essentially a fragmented TV business with each of the players holding around 8% or less market share. The top DTH and cable players - Dish TV, Tata Sky, Videocon d2h, Airtel Digital TV, Hathway, Siti Cable, Sun Direct - all own between 6-8% market share each currently.

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