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First Indian to chair the prestigious telecom industry Board
·         Mittal leads GSMA Board delegation in a meeting with the Indian Prime Minister
·         GSMA also names 26-Member Board to Serve from January 2017 through December 2018

Chandigarh, October 27, 2016: The GSMA today announced that it has elected Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chairman, Bharti Enterprises, as Chairman for the two-year period from January 2017 through December 2018. As GSMA Chairman, Mr. Mittal will oversee the strategic direction of the organisation, which represents nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators, as well as more than 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem. Bharti Airtel was the host of the inaugural GSMA Mobile 360 – India event in New Delhi this week, as well as a meeting of the GSMA Board.


A highlight of the week, GSMA Chair-elect Mr. Mittal led the GSMA Board delegation at a meeting with the Indian Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi on Wednesday afternoon. In a broad-ranging discussion, the meeting highlighted the pivotal role of mobile in delivering the government's Digital India vision of broadband as a utility for every citizen, bringing digital and financial inclusion to every corner of the country.

The GSMA also elected the new members of the 26-member Board and re-elected Mari-Noëlle Jego-Laveissiere, Executive Vice President, Innovation, Orange Group as Deputy Chair for the two-year period.

Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal said, “I am delighted to be elected as Chairman of the GSMA, and look forward to working closely with the rest of the Board, the GSMA leadership team and our entire membership to address the critical issues facing our industry and our customers. In a relatively brief period of time, mobile has had a transformational impact on individuals, businesses, industries and societies, contributing significantly to local economies and improving the lives of billions around the world. I am excited about what the next chapter holds for us, as we work to connect everyone and everything to a better future.”

“In my new global role, I am excited to support the ongoing mobile broadband revolution in India to boost the Government’s Digital India Program and its vision of broadband access for all”, added Mr. Mittal.

The first Indian to be elected as Chairman of the prestigious global telecom industry board, Sunil Bharti Mittal took over as Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) early this year. He already serves on the Boards and Councils of several reputed international bodies and think-tanks like the World Economic Forum (WEF), Telecom Board of International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Broadband Commission, Harvard University’s Global Advisory Council - Board of Dean’s Advisors at HBS, International Advisory Panel of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Prime Minister of Singapore’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council. He is also a Trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and on the Board of Qatar Foundation Endowment.

The GSMA Board has 26 members, including 25 operator representatives from the world’s largest operator groups as well as smaller, independent operators with global representation. The GSMA’s Director General Mats Granryd also serves on the GSMA Board. The GSMA Board for the 2017-2018 term comprises:

Juan Carlos Archila, Executive Vice President, International Relationships, América Móvil
Bill Hague, Executive Vice President-Global Connection Management, AT&T Mobility
Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chairman, Bharti Enterprises
Sha Yuejia, Executive Director and Vice President, China Mobile
Sun Kangmin, Executive Director and Executive Vice President, China Telecom
Lu Yimin, President and Vice Chairman, China Unicom
Wolfgang Kopf, Senior Vice President, Public and Regulatory Affairs, Deutsche Telekom
Hatem Dowidar, CEO International, Etisalat
Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA
Christian Salbaing, Deputy Chairman, Europe, Hutchison
Takashi Tanaka, President, KDDI
Eelco Blok, CEO, KPN
Chang-Gyu Hwang, Chairman and CEO, KT Corporation
Mauricio Ramos, CEO, Millicom
Phuthuma Nhleko, Chairman and Acting CEO, MTN Group
Andrei Dubovskov, President, MTS
Kazuhiro Yoshizawa, President and CEO, NTT DOCOMO
Mari-Noëlle Jego-Laveissiere, Executive Vice President, Innovation, Orange Group
Dong-Hyun Jang, President and CEO, SK Telecom
Julio Linares López, Vice President of the Board, Telefónica
Sigve Brekke, President and CEO, Telenor Group
Johan Dennelind, President and CEO, Telia Company
Kaan Terzioğlu, CEO, Turkcell
Roy Chestnutt, Chief Strategy Officer, Verizon
Serpil Timuray, Group Chief Commercial Operations and Strategy Officer, Vodafone
Scott Gegenheimer, CEO, Zain Group

GSMA Chairman Mr. Jon Fredrik Baksaas will step down from the Board at the end of 2016, after holding this position for the past three years. Mr. Baksaas was elected as a member of the GSMA Board in 2008.

“With nearly 4.8 billion individuals around the world subscribing to mobile services, it is the most pervasive and fast-growing platform of users ever built. It is now accessible to billions in both developing and developed markets, providing life-enhancing services and enabling new socio-economic opportunities for all,” commented Baksaas. “The mobile industry is at the very heart of the world’s digital transformation, driving efforts to make the world a better place, in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It has been a true privilege to serve on the GSMA Board for eight years, the last three as Chair. I wish the new Board and Chair, Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal, the very best of luck as the GSMA focuses on extending global platform capabilities, such as GSMA Mobile Connect, to billions of users around the globe.”

About Bharti Enterprises
Bharti Enterprises is one of India’s leading business groups with interests in telecom, agri business, financial services and manufacturing. Bharti has been a pioneering force in the Indian telecom sector with many firsts and innovations to its credit. Bharti Airtel, the group's flagship company, is a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 18 countries across Asia and Africa. The Company ranks amongst the top 3 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers. Other business ventures of the group include Bharti SoftBank - a JV between Bharti Enterprises and SoftBank Corp - for mobile internet. Beetel Teletech, a JV between Bharti and Brightstar is India’s leading manufacturer and distributor of telecom, IT and allied products. The group has a JV – FieldFresh Foods – with Del Monte Pacific Ltd, to offer offers a range of food and beverage products under the Del Monte brand in India and select SAARC countries, while exporting fresh and processed vegetables like Baby Corn, Sweet Corn, Chillies etc to UK and western Europe. Bharti has JVs with AXA, world leader in financial protection and wealth management, for Life Insurance and General Insurance. The group has presence in retail sector through investment in Future Retail that operates stores in multiple formats under various brands.