Airtel Africa, a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services in Africa, has announced the appointment of Carl Cruz as the new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Networks Limited in Nigeria. The appointment, which takes effect from May 5th, 2023, will also see Mr. Cruz join the Executive Committee as the Regional Operating Director reporting to the Airtel Africa Group CEO, Segun Ogunsanya, as well as the Board of Airtel Networks Limited in Nigeria.
Mr. Cruz is a seasoned business leader with over 31 years of corporate experience in multiple geographies across Africa and Asia. He has held several leadership positions in prominent companies such as Unilever, where he served as the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the company in West Africa. In this role, he oversaw three listed operating companies, including Nigeria, Ghana, and Francophone Africa. He was also a board member in the role of Executive Director in Unilever Nigeria Plc and a Non-Executive Director in the board of Unilever Ghana representing Unilever as a shareholder.
Prior to his role at Unilever, Mr. Cruz was the Chairman and Managing Director of Unilever Sri Lanka, and he also occupied leadership roles in Unilever Philippines and Hindustan Unilever India. Throughout his career, Mr. Cruz has managed strategic and directional responsibility in sales, distribution, customer and brand development, trade development, and commercial engagement.
Mr. Cruz holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing Management from the University of De La Salle, Philippines. Speaking on Mr. Cruz’s appointment, Airtel Africa Group CEO, Segun Ogunsanya, said, “Mr. Cruz brings to Airtel Africa a wealth of business experience, exceptional track record, and strong values. He has a solid record of accomplishment as a strategic and transformational business leader who thrives on problem-solving and building strong teams to deliver business growth. We look forward to working with him to steer our largest region and to deliver on our corporate purpose of transforming lives.”
Mr. Cruz takes over from Mr. C Surendran, and his appointment is expected to contribute to the company’s continued growth and expansion in Nigeria and across Africa.
Africa is facing significant challenges with cash and mobile money as the dominant payment methods, according to Mark Dankworth, president of Business Development Africa at Ukheshe. Cash is expensive, insecure, and inefficient, while mobile money services lack regulatory support. However, emerging trends are helping to drive financial inclusion across the continent.