Founder and chairman, Bharti Enterprises, the parent company of Airtel Ghana, has been elected as GSMA chairman for the two-year period from January 2017 through December 2018.

Sunil Bharti Mittal is the first Indian to be elected as chairman of the global telecom industry board.

As GSMA Chairman, Mittal will oversee the strategic direction of the organization, which represents nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators, as well as more than 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem.

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.

Commenting on the new development, 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,” he added.

GSMA Chairman Jon Fredrik Baksaas will step down from the Board at the end of 2016, after holding this position for the past three years.