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Board of Directors

board of director

Mr. Akhil Kumar Gupta

Chairman and Non- Executive Director

Akhil is the Vice Chairman of Bharti Enterprises. He has played a pivotal role in Bharti’s phenomenal growth right since inception - both organically and by way of various acquisitions.

He has led the formation of various partnerships for Bharti with leading international operators like British Telecom, Telecom Italia, Singapore Telecom and Vodafone in addition to induction of leading financial investors like Warburg Pincus, Temasek, KKR, Qatar Foundation Endowment, AIF and Sequoia among many other Private Equity funds. He has also been instrumental in raising several billion dollars by way of project finance for the Group over the years from global banks, bond markets and Export Credit Agencies (ECAs).

He has conceptualized and implemented the transformational initiatives that include the outsourcing deals undertaken by the group in the areas of Information Technology (IT) with IBM and Network Management. He has also been responsible for the separation of passive mobile infrastructure and forming Indus Towers - a Joint Venture with Vodafone and Idea, which is one of the largest tower companies in the world and is a unique example of collaborating at the backend while competing at the front end.

In 2010, he was instrumental in the acquisition of Zain Group’s mobile operations in 15 countries across Africa.

He has also spearheaded the successful public listings of Bharti Airtel (2002), Bharti Infratel (2012) and Airtel Africa (2019) and has been instrumental in introducing Global benchmarks like full Quarterly audits and transparent Quarterly reports to provide all relevant information to investors & stakeholders. Consequently, Bharti Airtel and Bharti Infratel have been constantly awarded highest ratings for Corporate Governance and are acknowledged globally for highest standards of ethics.

He is currently the Chairman of DIPA (Digital Infrastructure Providers Association), President of TSSC (Telecom Sector Skill Council), member of the Advisory Committee on Service Providers of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India, member of Sub Committee of Insolvency Law Committee, Government of India, member of CII Task Force on Insolvency and Bankruptcy and member of CII National Committee on Telecom & Broadband.

He is also on the board of a prominent E-Commerce company – Snapdeal and has played an active part in its turnaround.

He represents the Indian Telecom Industry and Bharti regularly at various forums and important seminars in India and abroad.

He is a Chartered Accountant by qualification with over 40 years of professional experience. He has also done an “Advanced Management Program” at the Harvard Business School in the year 2002.

He is the recipient of numerous awards which include ET Telecom Lifetime Achievement Award, Voice&Data Lifetime Contribution Award, EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award as an Entrepreneur CEO, CA Lifetime Achievement Award by ICAI, Lifetime Achievement Award by Amity University, CEO of the Year award at National Telecom Awards, CA Business Achiever award by ICAI, Asia Corporate Dealmaker award at the Asia Pacific M&A Atlas Awards, Best CFO awards in multiple categories by CNBC–TV18 and induction to Hall of Fame by CFO India.

His book ‘Some Sizes Fit All’ on management has been recently published by Penguin Random House.

board of director

Mr. Rakesh Bharti Mittal

Non-Executive Director

Rakesh Bharti Mittal is the Vice-Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, one of India’s leading business groups with interests in Telecom Services, Telecom Infrastructure & Devices, Space Communications, Insurance, Agri-Processed Foods, Real Estate and Hospitality. He is the Chairman of Del Monte Foods and Bharti Axa Life Insurance. He is also a Non-Executive Director - Bharti Airtel and Managing Director - Bharti Realty Limited.

Bharti Airtel, the flagship company of Bharti Enterprises, is a global telecommunications company with operations in 17 countries and ranks amongst the top three mobile operators globally. One of the largest integrated telecom providers in India and Africa, Bharti Airtel serves over half a billion customers across its operations.

Rakesh served as the President of CII for the year 2018-19. He is the Co-Chair of the India-Uzbekistan Business Council and a member of the India-UK CEO Forum, CII Australia India Business Champions, India-Japan Business Leaders’ Forum and the India Pakistan Joint Business Forum. He is a Member of the Governing Board at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) and a Life Member of ICRIER. He is a Member of the Founding Circle of Centre for Social and Economic Progress (CSEP, formerly Brookings India).

A passionate advocate for quality education, Rakesh has been associated with primary, secondary, advanced and technical education through multiple roles. He is a member of the Board of the Indian School of Business (ISB), Chairman of the ISB Mohali Campus Advisory Board and Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Bharti Institute of Public Policy, ISB. He is also a Member of the Board of Trustees at Plaksha University. Rakesh is the Co-Chairman of the Advisory Board of Bharti School of Telecommunication Technology & Management at IIT Delhi. He is a Member of the All India Board of Studies for PG Education & Research in Engineering & Technology (AIB-PGERT).

The group’s philanthropic arm, Bharti Foundation operates 173 Satya Bharti Schools as well as supports approx. 700 government schools under the Quality Support Program to ensure holistic education. Since inception, nearly 4.5 lakh underprivileged children in rural India have benefitted from programmes run by Bharti Foundation.

Rakesh has been awarded the Honorary Doctor of Civil Law Degree by Newcastle University, UK. He has served as the Honorary Consul for Republic of Sierra Leone in India from 2014 to 2020. He is a recipient of the prestigious ‘Horasis – Indian Business Leader of the Year 2016 Award’ and ‘Institute of Engineers Award 2004’. He has received the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ from S.C.D. College, Ludhiana and was recognized as a Distinguished Alumni of J.C. Bose University of Science & Technology, YMCA, Faridabad.

board of director

Mr. Harjeet Kohli

Non-Executive Director

Mr. Harjeet Kohli serves as the Director of the Company since 29th August, 2016. Harjeet is a part of Bharti Management Board and drives the strategic aspects of businesses, across Bharti Airtel & other group businesses, by focusing on Strategy, business development, inorganic build-outs, M&A, capital allocation, partnerships, strategic capital sources, corporate finance, capital structure, equity, investor management (private & public), investments, risk management. He also plays the role of Business Sponsor driving core delivery & value creation for Airtel payments bank, Airtel money Africa, consumer & real estate businesses of the group.

Starting as a corporate & investment banker & finance professional leading into business roles, Harjeet has ~26 years of work experience. As the Jt Managing Director of Bharti Enterprises, Harjeet also serves as a Director on the Boards of Bharti Enterprises Limited, Indus Towers, Nxtra Data Centers, Airtel Payments Bank India, Airtel Money Africa, Bharti AXA Life Insurance Company Limited, Bharti Realty Limited, Del Monte Foods India, and Bharti Land amongst others. Prior to this role, Harjeet has served as Group Director for Airtel and Bharti group; Director - Finance Bharti group, CFO - Bharti Enterprises, Group Treasurer and Head of Investor Relation of Bharti Airtel and has worked on several strategic projects for Bharti group, across strategic expansion, large scale acquisitions, divestitures, IPO, QIP, Rights, buybacks, secondary sales, capital markets debt, equity market – across listed companies (Airtel/Infratel/Airtel Africa Plc) & including business/franchise deals in Insurance, foods, real estate et al.

Prior to joining Bharti group in late 2008, he had 12 years of corporate & investment banking experience at Citibank, across business build-outs, product head, structuring, sales, relationship management, capital markets & full P&L based market management. Working across diverse industries and businesses he has been a trusted advisor for corporate clients across their strategic intervention needs, organic and or inorganic and across value curation, creation, enhancement and or illumination. Apart from a leadership program from Harvard in 2014, Harjeet is an MBA in Finance from University of Delhi, Faculty of Management Studies and a Mechanical Engineer from Delhi College of Engineering, University of Delhi.

Individually, early stage investing is also an equal passion for Harjeet. He is also part of India Angel Network and other early stage platforms, mostly as investor and selectively as mentor as well. And along with his wife Shilpa, serves with SVP India, a philanthropy organization, as the Chapter Chairperson for SVP’s Delhi NCR Chapter.

board of director

Mr. Bharat Sumant Raut

Independent Non-Executive Director

Mr. Bharat Sumant Raut is an Independent Non-Executive Director in the Company since 31st March, 2010. He serves as an Independent Director of IDFC AMC Trustee Company Limited, Non-Executive & Independent Director of Grindwell Norton Ltd. and Bharti Axa General Insurance Company Limited. He also serves as a Trustee Director of IDFC Asset Management Company Limited and as a Director of Universal Medicare Private Limited, IDFC Pension Fund Management Company Ltd., Geltec Private Limited, I-Flex Solutions Trustee Company Limited and Tuscan Ventures Private Limited. Mr. Raut holds bachelor’s degrees in law and commerce from the University of Bombay. He is a Chartered Accountant and a fellow member of ICAI. He was associated with Sharp and Tannan, Chartered Accountants as a partner, with Price Waterhouse, Chartered Accountants as a partner and with B S R & Co. LLP, (originally Bharat S Raut & Co.), Chartered Accountants and BSR & Associates LLP (originally BSR & Associates), Chartered Accountants, as their founding partner. Since 2006, he is a member of the Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa, and has been practicing as an advocate.

Mr. Dinesh Kumar Mittal - Additional Independent Director

Mr. Dinesh Kumar Mittal

Additional Independent Director

Mr. Dinesh Kumar Mittal is a former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of 1977 batch (UP cadre) and has served the government of India in various capacities. Mr. Mittal was Secretary, Department of Financial Services, where he was responsible for overseeing banking, Insurance and Pension policies of India. During his tenure, he worked very closely with the RBI and was on the Board of the RBI, LIC, State Bank of India, IIFCL and IIFCL (UK). Previously as Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, he has worked closely with ICAI, ICSI and ICWAI. As an Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce, Mr. Mittal was the chief negotiator of India for WTO negotiation. He also supervised all multilateral Preferential Tariff negotiations, development and operation of SEZs in India and FDI and Overseas Investment from India. As Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, he had oversight of International Trade and Special Economic Zones. He formulated SEZ policy in March 2000 for the first time in India. He was with ILFS on secondment from the Govt of India and worked in the area of project development and financing of infra projects. Mr. Mittal has hands on experience in Infrastructure, International Trade, Urban Development, Renewable Energy, Agriculture Development and Micro-Credit, Corporate Governance, Banking, Insurance, Pension and Finance.
He holds a master’s degree in physics with specialization in Electronics from University of Allahabad, India.

board of director

Mr. V.V. Ranganathan

Additional Independent Director

Mr. V.V. Ranganathan is a finance professional with over 40 years of variegated experience in India and overseas. He graduated in commerce in 1973 with a Gold Medal. He is currently a member of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration based in the Hauge, Netherlands. He is also a member of a Conciliation Committee of Independent Experts constituted under the Arbitration & Conciliation Act 1996.

He was a Senior Partner with Ernst & Young and now called EY, one of the big four global firms. He served EY in India during its crucial growth phase for many years in various capacities including that of Country Leader for Strategic Growth Markets and Country Head for Quality & Risk Management for the firm. He was the Country Leader for Strategic Growth Markets working on strategies for business opportunities in emerging growth markets and reporting directly to the then Global Vice-Chair of EY in London. He also was a key founding member of the marquee Entrepreneur of the Year Program in India & the World Entrepreneur of the Year at Monte Carlo.

board of director

Ms. Uma Ajay Relan

Independent Non-Executive Director

Ms. Uma Ajay Relan is an Independent Non-Executive Director in the Company since 10th February, 2015. Ms. Relan specialises in Consumer Credit and spent much of her career with Citigroup working in multiple geographies, various banking disciplines and diverse product groups.  She worked in Dubai for 6 years as head of credit for the Gulf region where she successfully launched the first credit card portfolio in UAE.  The bulk of her career has been with Citigroup’s consumer business where she was the principal architect of the growth story in several markets across the globe.  She has the distinction of being a Level 1 Senior Credit Officer (the most senior credit designation in Citibank) for both commercial and retail lending.

Parag Raja - Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer

Parag Raja

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer

Parag Raja is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Bharti AXA Life Insurance. His career spans more than two decades in distinguished firms such as Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance, Max Life Insurance, ICICI bank and ANZ Grindlays Limited. He is a Postgraduate in Marketing Management from the esteemed Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from HR College and a Master in Commerce from Sydenham College, Mumbai

Before joining Bharti AXA, Parag was the Chief Distribution Officer at Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance where he planned and executed the strategic direction for expanding the organization’s footprint across the country while spearheading its robust sales growth. He also established a vital Bancassurance relationship with HDFC Bank which went on to be one of the key drivers for Aditya Birla Sun Life’s growth. While working with Max Life, Parag was instrumental in building a formidable partnership with Axis Bank to create the largest non-captive and third-largest bancassurance relationship in the country.

He is in charge of leading the company through its next phase of growth and transformation. Parag is a conscientious and result-oriented leader which has been validated by his proven track record in delivering sustainable outcomes.

Parag is in charge of developing the overall strategy for the growth of the organization and for deploying resources to achieve business objectives. He is the public face of the organization and takes significant decisions which determine the direction of the organization’s growth trajectory. He plays an integral role in creating and implementing the vision and the mission of the organization. Parag engages closely with the board of directors to define the long term goals for the organization and establish best in class corporate governance practices . He oversees the operations of the organization with the assistance of the entire leadership team. As the principal value enabler, Parag’s responsibility is to ensure that the organization delivers value to multiple stakeholders including customers, employees and shareholders.