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Airtel Africa Appoints Ogunsanya New CEO as Mandava Leaves



By Adedapo Adesanya

Leading telecommunications and mobile money service provider, Airtel Africa Plc, has announced the appointment of Mr Olusegun Ogunsanya, the Managing Director and CEO of its Nigerian operations, Airtel Nigeria, to succeed Mr Raghunath Mandava, who retires as the MD/CEO later this year.

A statement issued by the telco disclosed that Mr Mandava has informed the board of his intention to retire, which necessitated the appointment of Mr Ogunsanya, who is expected to join the board of Airtel Africa with effect from October 1, 2021.

Mr Ogunsanya joined Airtel Africa in 2012 to head Airtel Nigeria and has been responsible for the overall management of the company’s operations in Nigeria, its largest market in Africa.

He boasts of more than 25 years of business management experience in banking, consumer goods and telecoms.

Before joining Airtel in 2012, he held leadership roles at Coca-Cola in Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya (as MD and CEO).

He has also been the Managing Director of Nigerian Bottling Company Ltd (Coca-Cola Hellenic owned) and Group head of retail banking operations at Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, covering 28 countries in Africa.

He is an electronics engineer and also a chartered accountant.

On his part, Mr Mandava will be retiring also as a member of the Market Disclosure Committee on September 30, 2021. Arrangements have been made to ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities.

Following his cessation of employment at Airtel Africa, Mr Mandava will be available to advise the Chairman, the Airtel Africa Board and the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer for a nine-month period.

“We are delighted to appoint Segun Ogunsanya as the Group’s next Chief Executive Officer. He has displayed significant drive and energy in turning around the Nigeria business by focusing on network modernisation, distribution, and operational efficiency.

“It is this commitment, together with his industry experience, strategic vision, constant customer focus and proven record of delivery that will enable him to continue to deliver our strategic objectives and to lead the group in the next stages of its development.

“On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Raghu Mandava for being instrumental in successfully leading and transforming Airtel Africa into a powerhouse telecommunications and mobile money company.

“Throughout that time, Raghu has worked tirelessly first to repair and then to strengthen Airtel Africa’s business and to champion our stakeholders.

“As we look forward to Segun assuming his new role in October 2021, we do so from a position of great strength as a result of Raghu’s highly effective stewardship. Raghu will retire from the Board with our very best wishes and sincere appreciation for everything he has achieved,” the statement from the firm said.

The outgoing CEO of Airtel Africa, while commenting on the development, said: “I am thankful to Airtel Africa for providing me and my team the opportunity to transform the business and fulfil our responsibility to the countries in which we operate. It has been a privilege to serve in the African continent and I cherish my time here.

“Airtel Africa is a remarkable business with fantastic people. Having been at Bharti Airtel for 13 years and at Airtel Africa for 5 years as Chief Executive Officer, I feel now is the right time to take a sabbatical.

“The last five years have been an exhilarating journey where we have been able to turn around and transform the business into strong high growth and profitable company. We have been able to build the business with our unique management and problem-solving approach to bring in substantial performance improvement.

“I am very proud of what we have achieved over the past five years in Africa, and I look forward to seeing the Company make even greater progress over the coming years.”

The incoming CEO stated that, “Having been part of the Airtel Africa journey for the past nine years, I am looking forward to taking up the role of Chief Executive Officer. On a personal note, as an African, I feel honoured to have the opportunity to lead a group that continues to make a difference to millions of people, bridge the digital divide and expand financial inclusion.

“This is an exciting opportunity to position Airtel Africa for further success in a dynamic continent full of potential. I look forward to building on the achievements of the last five years during Raghu’s leadership.”

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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