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Airtel Digital TV to have a new CEO; Shashi Arora to head Airtel Payments Bank

MUMBAI: Airtel Digital TV, the DTH arm of Bharti Airtel, will have a new CEO. The current CEO Shashi Arora will be moving into a new role as CEO and MD of Airtel Payments Bank, the payments bank arm of Bharti Airtel Group.

Arora will move into the role once the company receives approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Until then, he will continue as CEO of Airtel Digital TV, an Airtel spokesperson confirmed.

Shashi Arora“We will have a new CEO once Arora moves into his new role,” the spokesperson added.

At Airtel Payments Bank, Arora will replace Manish Khera, who has decided to pursue his entrepreneurial journey.

Airtel Payments Bank chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said, “I am delighted to announce the appointment of Shashi Arora as CEO and MD designate of the bank. Shashi is a seasoned professional with over 26 years of experience across sectors including FMCG, telecom, media and banking. He has handled key market-facing assignments as well as business leadership roles with full P&L ownership in consumer-focused and technology-intensive sectors. I am confident that under Shashi’s leadership, our launch plans will gather further momentum, and we look forward to delivering an outstanding banking experience to millions of customers across the country.”

Shashi joined Bharti Airtel in February 2006 and was appointed as CEO of Bharti Telemedia, a DTH subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, in August 2011. Under his leadership, the DTH business has doubled its subscriber base as well as revenues, with over two-thirds of the new customers coming from rural India.

Airtel Digital TV turned EBIT (earnings from operations) positive at Rs 184.3 crore (Rs 1.84 billion) on full-fiscal basis compared to loss of Rs 158.1 crore (Rs 1.58 billion) a year ago.

Revenue increased 18% to Rs 2917.8 crore (Rs 29.18 billion) from Rs 2475.9 crore (Rs 24.76 billion) in the earlier year.

In the fiscal fourth quarter, Airtel Digital TV mopped up 619,000 new subscribers to make it its best in 20 quarters.

In FY16, the DTH operator added 1.65 million net subscribers to take its total subscriber base to 11.72 million. In the previous fiscal, it had added 1.06 million net subscribers to touch the 10.07 million subscriber mark.

Prior to this, Shashi was part of Airtel’s mobile business, and served as CEO of the upper-North cluster (Punjab, Haryana, HP & J&K) as well as CEO of the Delhi circle.

Earlier, Shashi was the group marketing head of Kotak Mahindra Bank, and was part of the team that expanded Kotak’s banking business after they procured the banking licence. He started his career with Hindustan Unilever as a management trainee in 1990 and, during his 12-year stint, served in various sales and marketing roles.

Shashi is a gold medallist from the Technological Institute of Textile & Sciences, Bhiwani, and did his MBA from XLRI, Jamshedpur.