Fun, drama as Airtel sends forth Swaroop to usher in Ogunsanya era

Posted by News Express | 25 March 2013 | 3,334 times

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Culture, drama and symbolism played out Saturday (March 23) as departing Airtel Nigeria Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Rajan Swaroop, beat the Nigerian talking drum and passed it on to new CEO Segun Ogunsanya symbolising a seamless leadership change at a colourful send forth for the Indian “Turnaround Manager”, who ran the network from May 2010 to March 2013.

Top personalities, board members, directors and senior management staff as well as partners of the business witnessed the send forth at the Oceanview Restaurant Victoria Island in Nigeria’s economic hub, Lagos.

Swaroop left amidst encomiums from colleagues and business partners such as Ericcson, IBM West Africa, Tech Mahindra and Spanco BPO, as well as eminent guests.

Chairman of the occasion, Oba Otudeko, added to the culture and drama by giving several variants of the Yoruba name Akin to Swaroop. Otudeko said he enjoyed his working relationship with “Omo Akin” Rajan Swaroop.

He described Swaroop as a calm, humble man with an inner core of steel and just the right man for the transition phase of the Airtel business.

The cultural tone was set when Director of Corporate Communication & CSR Emeka Oparah strode in beating a talking drum with the allegory of the habits of hunters who spoke to each other in the forest with drums or whistles. He then beckoned Swaroop who danced to the drum and beat it to invite Ogunsanya. After his dance, Ogunsanya then beat the drum masterfully as a true “Omo Akin” or “son of the soil.”

Airtel Nigeria is a lodestar of the Airtel Africa business that came into being following the $9b take-over of the Zain Africa business by Bharti Airtel in 2010. Nigeria alone constitutes one of the three regions of the Airtel business covering 16 countries in Africa. Other countries are grouped as Anglophone or Francophone Africa regions.

“Swaroop led the turnaround team that stabilised the business and changed the paradigm for various services, winning laurels for customer service, innovation and branding. He is an engineer and management expert with degrees from the respected Indian Institute of Technology and a pioneer executive in the Indian GSM sector,” says a statement issued late yesterday by Airtel Nigeria.

Ogunsanya is a Nigerian management technocrat with experience across fast moving consumer goods, banking and audit. An engineer and chartered accountant, he was at various times managing director of Coca Cola companies in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria.

Swaroop said Ogunsanya was chosen because he possesses skills and experience needed to take Airtel to the next phase of the business – that of growth and consolidation.

Guests at the event included Airtel Nigeria director Paul Usoro (SAN) and his wife, Prof. Pat Utomi, founder of the Centre for Values in Leadership, and Dr. Alex Otti, Group Managing Director of Diamond Bank plc, among several others.

Photo: Ogunsanya beating the talking drum for Swaroop . . . last Saturday in Lagos.

Source: News Express

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