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Rajan Mittal

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It’s hard to remember a time when Airtel didn’t exist but in reality, it was only 20 years ago that Bharti Telecom, set up by brothers Rajan, Sunil and Rakesh Bharti Mittal, first applied for mobile licenses in association with French telecom group Vivendi, to launch cellular operations in Delhi.

It turned out to be a game-changer, not just for the company but for India and the telecom sector – and Rajan Bharti Mittal has been at the forefront of all the action.

Of course telecom – although one of the most visible faces of the behemoth that is Bharti  – is only part of what makes the company one of the country’s most influential. With interests in financial services, retail, manufacturing, realty and the agri-business, the company has partnerships with some of the world’s biggest corporations, including WalMart, AXA (financial services) and Del Monte in the food processing industry. And as Chairman of the Bharti – WalMart joint venture in India, Rajan is all set to become an even more visible presence thanks to the recently announced FDI in retail.

But retail is only one of Rajan’s responsibilities. As Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of the group’s diversified interests, he is critically involved in everything from the gargantuan telecom business – at last count, Airtel had operations in 20 countries with over 255 million customers – as well as insurance and is a key strategist and influencer on policy.
An alumnus of Harvard Business School, Rajan was honoured with the Indian Business Leader of the Year Award 2011 by Horasis, the Global Visions Community and has also been awarded the Leonardo International Prize 2012 by the Italian Quality Committee. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Brookings Institution, the world’s oldest and best-respected think tank, among a host of top trade and industry organisations globally.

He has been President of FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) for the year 2010 – 2011 and is currently a Member of its Executive & Steering Committees. He is the Vice President of ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) in India.

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