Louis Otieno named board chair as Ashish Malhotra replaces Das Sarma as Airtel Kenya MD

The Board of Airtel Kenya has appointed Louis Onyango Otieno as Chairman and Ashish Malhotra as Managing Director (MD), to steer the firm’s next phase of growth.

The new chairman of the Airtel Kenya board brings over 30 years extensive leadership experience in ICT across private and public sectors, with a proven track record as a board member in companies across industries. He began his career at EEC Financial Services in New York, rising to the position of Assistant Vice President. He later joined Microsoft in 1997, leading the business in Africa in different capacities for 21 years. Otieno holds an MBA from Long Island University, Brooklyn in New York and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry in New York.

(TOP: Louis Onyango Otieno, the Chairman, Airtel Kenya and Ashish Malhotra, the Managing Director, Airtel Kenya).

The management changes come less than a week after another industry player, Safaricom announced that its long-serving senior executive and Chief Consumer Business Officer Sylvia Mulinge is leaving the telco by end of September to take up another post across the border as the MD of MTN Uganda.

Otieno serves as Chairman of Absa Asset Management. He is also an independent non-executive director at Absa Bank Kenya and Nation Media Group.

Malhotra brings a wealth of experience of over 21 years in the Telecommunications sector. He was previously the Group Head of Sales and Marketing at Airtel Africa, leading the function in 14 countries where Airtel is operational. In this role, he was instrumental in doubling revenues, streamlining pricing principles and building strong unique selling propositions across the countries. He holds an MBA from Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies (SIMS), India and a Bachelor of Commerce from Sri Ram College of Commerce, India. He takes over from Prasanta Das Sarma, who has held the position since January 2017, and was instrumental in leading Airtel Kenya to become the fastest growing telecom company in Kenya, growing subscriber base from 5 million to 16 million. Das Sarma is moving to a new role as the Fiber Company CEO for Airtel Africa.

“We wish to congratulate Mr. Otieno and Mr. Malhotra on their appointment and wish them success in their new roles. We look forward to working with them to take Airtel Kenya to the next level, as we continue delivering innovative and relevant solutions for individuals and businesses in the country,” the Board said in a statement.

Airtel Africa has a presence in 14 countries in Africa, primarily in East Africa and Central and West Africa. Airtel Africa offers an integrated suite of telecommunications solutions to its subscribers, including mobile voice and data services as well as mobile money services both nationally and internationally.


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