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Nairobi to be Africa headquarters for Celtel

NAIROBI, June 25 – Mobile telecommunication operator Zain, which is the parent company of Celtel Kenya, has announced plans to set up a regional office in Nairobi in the next two months.

Nairobi will now be the company’s headquarters for Africa. Previously, Celtel operation in the continent were run from Bahrain.

Celtel Corporate Communications Director Michael Okwiri told a media briefing on Wednesday that the office, which will be run separately from Celtel Kenya, would provide coordination for the business operations of the 15 African countries where Zain operates in.

"A decision was made to move the Group’s office to Africa in a location that is closer to the business; and they settled on Nairobi," he explained.

Celtel International also has a presence in seven countries in the Middle East region and a customer base of 47.5 million subscribers.

He said Nairobi was selected because of its talent pool and its position as the hub for Africa.

Okwiri said the company was gearing up for competition in readiness for the entry of two operators in the market adding that they had put in place strategies that would ensure that they provide value proposition to their customers.

Although he declined to divulge their strategy saying this would give undue advantage to the other players, the communication director hinted that the plan would involve tariffs giving an indication that the tariff war was far from over.

"We are constantly reviewing our tariffs and value propositions and I assure that we are going to roll-out products that meet our customers’ needs," was all he offered.

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Okwiri spoke during a press conference to announce the realignment of Celtel’s senior management, a move that he termed as routine and which was expected to position them for future growth.

The changes affected the Marketing, Corporate Communications, Human Resources, Finance, Sales and the Technical Division.

They saw former Chief Finance Officer Caba Pinter, Human Resource Director Geneva Musau and Customer Care Director Job Njiru moved to other operations across the continent.

Former Marketing Director Anna Othoro and former Corporate Affairs Director Claire Ruto however left Celtel to pursue other interests.

"We want to harness the rich cultural diversity and experience in our different operations to further strengthen our service delivery in Kenya," said Okwiri of the changes that have affected top managers in the company.

Okwiri also disclosed that a new Chief Executive Officer would report in mid July to replace David Murray who retired early 2008.

He added that Chris Gabriel the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) would oversee the operations across Africa.

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