Manoj Kohli

Country Head - Softbank India

I’m a professional entrepreneur who truly loves the challenge of shaping the industry transformations of mobile internet, satellite television, renewable energy, digital unicorns, electric vehicles etc.

Always with a star team and a positive energy to create world leading businesses with a profound societal impact. Excellence with integrity is my motto!

I am the Country Head - SoftBank India supporting SoftBank Group and Vision Fund as one of the largest investors of $15bn in over 25 AI focused portfolio companies in India. I support the entrepreneurs and CEOs to address the regulatory and government issues.The key portfolio companies are OLA, OYO, Emeritus, Lenskart, Grofers, Snapdeal, WeWork, Delhivery, InMobi, Firstcry, Uber, Swiggy, Unacademy etc.

I coach them for effective execution of the profitable growth strategy and embed a viable business model to enable the businesses to 10x-20x scale-up to their full potential in India and expand to many international markets. I support them in building a robust leadership team, e2e digitization plan, an admired brand, and a robust corporate governance.
Earlier I was the Executive Chairman of SB Energy from 2015 and achieved over 5GW of renewable energy - solar, wind and hybrid - capacity in India.

Previously I was Managing Director and CEO, Bharti Airtel, for operations in 20 countries in Asia and Africa till 2015. I led the creation of the unique business model, an admired brand, high performance culture and the operations to scale from 2m to 400m customers to be the third largest telco in the world. I led formation of Airtel TV leader in DTH service and Indus the largest tower company in the world for achieving major infrastructural synergies.

I started my career in HR in 1979 with the DCM Shriram and held business leadership positions in the Foods, Chemicals, Refrigeration and Honda JV etc. After 16 years in the manufacturing sector, I led a mobile startup Escotel to achieve market leadership in 3 important markets in India. I was the Board Member of GSMA in 2008 and 2012 and the Chairman, CII Task Force on Ease of Doing Business and now Chair of CII Unicorn Forum for attracting new tech investments in India.

Overall, my 43 years of work experience is divided between the manufacturing, telecom, renewable energy, and now digital sectors. I have worked in US, Europe, China, Japan and build businesses in 25 countries in Asia Pacific and Africa.

Airtel got the “Company of the year” Award by The Economic Times in 2007 and “Airtel” became no 1 brand across all categories in India. I was adjudged “Telecom Man of the Year” in 2000, “Distinguished Alumni” by SRCC Delhi University and “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2020.

I hold degrees in Commerce, Law and MBA from Delhi University. I attended "Executive Management Program” at Michigan and “Advanced Management Program” at Wharton.