Bharti Airtel’s Chief People Officer for India, South Asia, Gautam Anand, has quit with immediate effect from the mobile phone operator with immediate effect, a little over a year after he was elevated to this role.
As per an Airtel spokesperson, Anand is leaving due to personal reasons. Till the mobile phone operator appoints his successor, the HR function will report directly to Chief Executive Officer Gopal Vittal, as per a person in the know.
Anand had been with the firm since 2009 and rose up the ranks while working in different capacities to become the head of human resources for India and South Asia operations. At one point, he also headed human resources for Indian and South Asia consumer business, and prior to that, he took care of the digital TV business.
In May 2012, he was promoted as Vice-president, Chief of Staff for CEO, India & South Asia, where he was closely associated with the CEO in all aspects of business management, including performance reviews, strategic updates for the board of directors, and internal and external stakeholder management.
His exit comes at a time when the company has embarked on a massive plan to retire a substantial part of its debt by utilizing the proceeds from the IPO of its Africa unit. Reducing borrowings is a key goal for the firm, as it aims to strengthen its position to face stiff competition from billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm. Driven by the rapid digitization of enterprises and uptake of digital services such as content and social media by customers, Airtel is also looking to leverage the opportunity, with its integrated services portfolio and deep, secure networks. In this direction, last month, it appointed Rajesh Tapadia as Chief Executive Officer of its data centre and cloud business - Nxtra Data.