Airtel to reportedly reduce African workforce by 20 percent

bhati airtel

bhati airtel

It’s only a few weeks since Bharti Airtel announced a possible sale off of some of its French speaking affiliate countries in Africa to Orange France, news reaching our desks indicates that the second biggest telecommunication company is reportedly set to reduce its headcount in Africa by between 15 per cent and 20 per cent this year, this includes the departure of 20 senior executives in the region.

According to the Economic Times (ET), Bharti Airtel is shaking up its operations in Africa in a bid to become profitable and turnaround its fortunes in the continent, since entering the region in 2010. If this turns out to be true, this will over 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.

The company recently sold tower assets in five African countries, raising $1.3 billion, while announcing it is 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 close. As of 1 March, Airtel Africa’s employee count stood at 5,130.

6 Top level departures

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Six top Airtel Africa executives 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 these were not layoffs, but “based on various functional requirements, certain employees were either relocated to or hired at Airtel Africa for a specific period”.