Prasanta Das Sarma becomes chief executive of Kenya’s second largest mobile operator.

Prasanta Das Sarma took the helm as the new chief executive of Airtel’s operations in Kenya on Wednesday.

An Airtel veteran with 14 years’ service under his belt, Prasanta Das Sarma joins Airtel Kenya from his previous post as CEO and managing director of Airtel Bangladesh, Kenyan news outlet Capital Business reported. 

"Prasanta, popularly known as PD, is a seasoned professional with over 31 years of experience in the technology sector," the news service quoted Raghunath Mandava, managing director and CEO of Airtel Africa as saying.

PD replaces Adil Youssefi, who has left the operator on expiry of his contract, it said.

Airtel Kenya is the market’s second largest mobile operator, according to the Communications Authority of Kenya, but it remains some way behind leading player Safaricom. The regulator’s latest figures show that at the end of September Safaricom served 26.6 million of the country’s 38.6 million mobile subscribers, while Airtel’s 6.6 million base gave it a market share of just 17%.

The operator is faring better than third-ranked Telkom Kenya, which had 2.9 million customers and a 7.5% market share at the same date.

International telecoms group Orange sold its 70% stake in Telkom Kenya in mid-2016, having been keen to exit the market for some time after finding it difficult to compete effectively.