Pan-African Firm, Smile Telecoms Appoints New Group CEO and Deputy Chair

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Pan-African telecommunications group, Smile Telecoms has announced the appointments of Mr. Ahmad Farroukh as Group Chief Executive Officer and Ms. Irene Charnley as Deputy Chair, respectively, effective 1st June, 2019.

The company, which has operations in Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, stated that Ahmad 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.

“Mr. 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,” the group said in a recent statement.

Immediately prior to joining Smile, he served 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 telecommunications firm explained.

Meanwhile, Smile Telecoms Founder and Shareholder, Irene Charnley has led the Company’s innovation and pioneering of Africa’s first 4G LTE network infrastructure, thereby revolutionizing the way people in Africa accessed high speed internet.

After 12 years at the helm, Ms. Charnley – who is hailed as one of Africa’s most successful business leaders – will now serve as Deputy Chair for the Company and will fulfil a strategic role.

Commenting on the announcement, Mohammed H. Sharbatly, Smile’s Co-Chair and Group CEO of Smile’s majority shareholder, Al Nahla Group of KSA, explained that the Africa telecoms market is as dynamic as it is challenging.

“The next phase for Smile will focus on delivering excellent operational returns, achieving profitability and creating value for all stakeholders, and I believe that Ahmed is best suited to lead the Company forward in this regard,” Charnley said.

“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,” explained Farroukh.

“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,” he concluded.


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