Smile Telecoms appoints new CEO

Smile Telecoms appoints new CEO

Former Mobily chief executive, Ahmad Farroukh will spend majority of his executive time in Nigeria.

Pan-African telco Smile Telecoms, with operations in Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has appointed Ahmad Farroukh as group chief executive officer and Irene Charnley as deputy chairman, respectively, effective 1 June 2019.

According to a statement released by the company, Farroukh, who currently serves as Smile's group executive director operations, "is a seasoned and experienced telecoms executive with a distinguished record of commercial and operational success."

"Farroukh's vast experience extends to executive management positions at Investcom Holdings and the MTN Group (where he served as CEO of MTN Nigeria, MTN South Africa and Group Chief Operating Executive, responsible for 19 countries) and immediately prior to joining Smile, as CEO of Mobily, Saudi Arabia's second largest telecommunications operator. Given the extent of the opportunity and the significance to Smile, Ahmad will spend the majority of his executive time in Nigeria."

The statement continues that Smile Telecoms founder and shareholder, Irene Charnley has led the company's innovation and pioneering of Africa's first 4G LTE network infrastructure, using low band spectrum in 800MHz band.

"After 12 years at the helm, Ms. Charnley will now serve as Deputy Chairman for the Company and will fulfil a strategic role," the telco added.

Mohammed H. Sharbatly, Smile's Co-Chairman and Group CEO of Smile's majority shareholder, Al Nahla Group of KSA, said, "The Africa telecoms market is as dynamic as it is challenging, and Ahmad is suited to lead Smile's next exciting phase of growth, as we have transitioned from a spectrum rich upstart to the fastest, most reliable data gigabyte factory in Sub-Sahara Africa. We are equally delighted that Irene will continue to serve the company she founded as Deputy Chair, and we look forward to her ongoing strategic direction and guidance."

Farroukh added, "Africa is experiencing explosive data growth, and I am honoured to have the opportunity to lead the operations of one of the continent's best 4G LTE networks at this exciting time. It has also been a revelation after over 20 years in the industry to witness the power and versatility of Smile's proprietary technology applications platform, which was developed in-house and provides a huge competitive and cost advantage."