Bharti Airtel replaces India CEO Sanjay Kapoor in management shake-up

NEW DELHI Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:03pm IST

1 of 2. Sanjay Kapoor, Bharti Airtel chief executive for India and South Asia works on his computer during an interview with Reuters on the outskirts of New Delhi May 11, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/B Mathur

Related Topics

Stocks

   

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Bharti Airtel(BRTI.NS) is replacing the chief executive of its key domestic operations as the group seeks to reverse a trend of declining profits.

The world's fourth-biggest mobile phone carrier by customers has struggled to grow amid tough competition in its home market, which accounts for about 70 percent of its revenue. The Indian mobile market leader, which also operates in Africa, had posted 11 straight quarters of declining profit in September.

Sanjay Kapoor, a 15-year veteran of the company, will be replaced by group director of special projects Gopal Vittal as chief executive of India operations from March 1, the group controlled by billionaire Sunil Mittal said on Tuesday.

Vittal, who rejoined Bharti last year after a stint with India's largest consumer goods maker Hindustan Unilever(HLL.NS), will focus on increasing market share and margins and also on growing alternate revenue streams such as 3G data and mobile money, Bharti said.

Bharti Airtel shares jumped in afternoon trade ahead of the news, with traders attributing the surge to a likely sector-wide increase in voice call tariffs. The stock closed 5 percent higher, while rival Idea Cellular climbed 8.4 percent.

Bharti and its rivals in India launched high-speed 3G mobile data services in early 2011 after spending billions of dollars to buy airwaves. The premium services, however, have achieved slower than expected growth.

Indian mobile operators receive 85 percent of their revenue from voice calls but are increasingly trying to expand higher-margin data services.

"Until now it has only been about voice. Now it will be about data, video calling, so many other applications pertaining to data," said a Mumbai-based telecoms analyst who declined to be named.

Vittal, with his consumer goods background, is well-placed to drive the change, the analyst added.

Kapoor, who was Bharti's head of India and South Asia, will remain on the board of the group's telecoms tower joint venture Indus Towers. He was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday.

Apart from India, Bharti operates in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in South Asia and 17 countries in Africa. The company's Bangladesh and Sri Lanka operations will become part of Bharti's international unit, currently headed by Manoj Kohli.

(Editing by David Goodman)

FILED UNDER:

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Oil Prices Fall

Oil Prices Fall

Brent near four-year low after OPEC decides against output cut  Full Article 

Banking Sector

Banking Sector

India says considering plan to reduce stake to 52 pct in state banks   Full Article 

Islamic Fund

Islamic Fund

India gets new Islamic equity fund but debt market still off-limits  Full Article 

Fiscal Deficit

Fiscal Deficit

April-October fiscal deficit nears 90 pct of full-year target  Full Article 

SAARC Summit

SAARC Summit

Summit salvaged after handshake by leaders of India, Pakistan  Full Article 

Social Media

Social Media

Twitter to start tracking users' mobile apps  Full Article 

Forever21 in India

Forever21 in India

Forever21 sets sights on Indian cities, but please hold the hot pants  Full Article 

Japan Economy

Japan Economy

Japan inflation slows in October, output and spending show signs of recovery  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage