Go home Bharti Airtel to cut staff numbers in Africa

Bharti Airtel is shaking up its operations in Africa in a bid to turnaround its fortunes on the continent

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Mrs Lucy Quist - MD, Airtel Ghana play

Mrs Lucy Quist - MD, Airtel Ghana

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Bharti Airtel is reportedly set to reduce its headcount in Africa by between 15 and 20 per cent this year, including the departure of 20 senior executives in the region.

The company is shaking up its operations in Africa in a bid to turnaround its fortunes on the continent, where it has struggled to turn a profit since entering the region in 2010, according to Economic Times (ET).

The move will see approximately 700 to 800 of Airtel Africa’s tower employees leaving the company over the next six months, with 20 senior executives across the group also set to depart, some after their contracts expire.

Airtel recently sold tower assets in five African countries, raising $1.3 billion, while announcing it was in the process of further divestment in six others.

An Airtel spokesperson told ET many of the company’s tower employees had already moved to the acquiring entity, while others were in the process of moving as the transactions closed.

 As of March 1, Airtel Africa’s employee count stood at 5,130.

The shakeup follows Airtel’s announcement regarding talks with Orange over the sale of four of its Africa operations in Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso to “establish a sharper focus” on its other African units.

Six execs depart in two months

Six top Airtel Africa executive have already departed Airtel Africa over the past two months, and “most of these positions aren’t being replaced”, according to an ET source.

Of the six, only two positions have been filled so far.  Chief information Officer, George Fanthome, was replaced by Andrew Kossowski and Somasekhar VG was succeeded by ex CEO of MTN Ivory Coast, Wim Vanhelleputte

An Airtel spokesperson reportedly said those were not layoffs, but “based on various functional requirements, certain employees were either relocated to or hired at Airtel Africa for a specific period”.

Impact on Ghana
Meanwhile, it is not clear whether the action of the Bharti Airtel will affect the staff numbers in Airtel Ghana.

Officials of the company are yet to respond officially to the intention of the mother company based in India.

However, staff of the fourth biggest telecoms company in the country by subscriber numbers are calm about the news.

Source: Graphiconline

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