Vittal will be responsible for formulating and supporting Airtel’s international strategy and building a world-class data business. Data segment is expected to be the next biggest growth area for the telecom industry, especially with the launch of 3G mobile services and upcoming launch of 4G services.
This is his second stint at Airtel. Previously, he has worked with Airtel as Director—Marketing from 2006 to 2008 and made significant contribution towards driving revenue growth and market leadership.
To have a deeper understanding of various facets of the business, including data, in the international context, Vittal will spend the first year with SingTel in their Singapore and Australia operations, the company said.
SingTel holds about 32 per cent stake in Bharti Airtel. On the international front, Bharti has operations in Africa, where it acquired African assets of Zain in 2010, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
“Given our global aspirations and a fast evolving mobile telephony landscape led by explosive growth of data services, we are preparing a strong platform for the next phase of our growth. Gopal’s rich experience will add immense value to Airtel’s future plans and I wish him success in his new assignment,” Bharti Airtel chairman and managing director Sunil Bharti Mittal said.
Vittal joined Airtel from Hindustan Unilever, where he was heading the $3.5 billion home and personal care division. He has a rich experience in areas of business building, marketing, distribution and new product development that he has acquired as a result of various global and national responsibilities that he has held at Unilever.
Even at Hindustan Unilever, it was his second stint as he first joined the firm as a management trainee after graduating from the Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata in 1992.