According to a dispatch from Vodacom, Rene joins the company with over 12 years of international experience in telecommunications across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
“We’re very excited to have Rene joining the team. He brings a wide range of experience from emerging markets as diverse as Paraguay, Pakistan and Kenya. He was also previously CEO for Millicom’s (Tigo) operations in Tanzania which means that he’ll be up and running in this new role very quickly,” said Vodacom CEO for international operations Mr Johan Dennelind.
Mr Meza’s resignation comes barely two months after rumours circulated that he had resigned, together with the firm’s Network Director, John Barorot who also handed in a 3 week resignation notice.Mr Bhargava takes over from Mr Meza in the same capacity but under a different title – Chief Operations Officer (COO).
As one commentator puts it Mr Meza will now work in partnership with Safaricom in Kenya, a company he has competed with ferociously in the so dubbed “mobile wars”.
Airtel has engaged Safaricom in fierce competition that has seen the slashing of rates since it took over Zain. Courtesy of this battle, mobile subscribers are enjoying calling rates as low as sh1 per minute.
John Barorot joined Airtel in May this year after being snatched out of Safaricom earlier this year.
While confirming that Barorot was leaving Airtel, the firm denied that Meza would also be leaving. Barorot resigned towards the end of July 2011 in unclear circumstances just 3 months after joining the firm.
Mr Bhargava who recently joined the telecommunications company as Chief Operating Officer will assume the responsibility of running the complete operation in Kenya.
Vodacom announced on Monday the appointment of Mr Meza as Managing Director for Vodacom Tanzania.
Rene replaces Dietlof Mare, who had requested to change roles after spending almost five years in Tanzania.
“Under Dietlof’s direction, Vodacom Tanzania has grown considerably. It’s now our second largest operation outside South Africa and has over nine million customers. Dietlof has led the business admirably and has been instrumental in the implementation of M-Pesa and other initiatives that have placed the company well for the future,” added Mr Dennelind.
Who is Mr Bhargava?
Before his appointment as Airtel Kenya Chief operating Office, Mr Bhargava was part of the Bharti Airtel Group since 2003.
In a release to newsrooms on Monday, Michael Okwiri Vice President, Corporate Communications Airtel Africa said Mr Bhargava will be tasked with the role of leading Airtel Kenya to achieving the Group’s vision and managing its operations.
“He has a proven track record in Commercial Operations for more than 16 years in Coca-Cola and Airtel. Mr. Bhargava has a broad educational background in both technical and marketing, with a Bachelor of Engineering in Telecommunications Engineering, coupled with post graduate qualifications in Business Management, specialized in Marketing,” reads the release in part.
Airtel Kenya is the second largest mobile phone operator in Kenya offering its services to more than 3 million customers in the country.
Bharti Airtel is currently operating in 16 African markets after acquiring Zain Group in June last year and rebranding to Airtel.
Airtel has launched its mobile money platform, Airtel Money, strengthening its commitment to provide affordable and innovative solutions to all. The platform allows consumers and communities to take maximum advantage of the mobile commerce reality sweeping through the industry by enabling them to conduct a wide range of financial transactions quickly and easily across all Kenyan Mobile Networks.
Airtel offers its customers its One Network, an innovative, borderless mobile phone network across Africa.
One Network enables customers to roam freely between the countries in which Airtel operates, and be treated as “virtual” local customers of the visited network in terms of pricing, while retaining their home network service functionality.
Involvement in sports has also been a part of Airtel Kenya’s priorities through the Airtel Rising Stars football tournaments in 16 countries, including Kenya with more than 5,000 teams participating. The tournament is presented in association with Manchester United.