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GTB announces this year's 40 under 40

22 June 2011

Who are the industry’s young leaders of today and the leaders of tomorrow? For the third year in a row, Global Telecoms Business readers helped us make the selection

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Our list of the 40 executives under 40 is compiled from submissions made by our readers since the beginning of 2011. We accepted nominations only of people born on or after July 1 1971.
We contacted those who were in the 2009 and 2010 lists and asked them to make nominations — and some of those executives are in this year’s list. Some though, are now too old; and some have left the industry.
Others of the 2009 and 2010 lists have continued to grow within the industry — moving to more senior positions either in new companies or with the same organisation.
As last year, we’ll be inviting all 40 to our conference in late September — and, like last year, we’ll involve them in planning the conference in detail. In 2010 almost all came and took an active part in deciding the issues that will face them and their colleagues in five or 10 years: it was a highly successful event. We’ll also invite other readers of GTB to the conference — details will be given on  


Srinivasa Addepalli
Senior vice president, corporate strategy and communications, Tata Communications

Srinivasa Addepalli embodies the spirit of adventure that Tata Communications represents. As a global challenger that grew out of a government owned Indian provider with limited means and avenues, Tata Communications has defied odds by not only reinventing itself but also pioneering a composite model of wholesale and enterprise business that optimally straddles the data and voice divide. Addepalli has played a pivotal role in this journey as the co-creator and enabler of the company’s unique strategy.

Pankaj Agrawal
Head of IT governance and chief information security officer, Aircel

Pankaj Agrawal governs the strategic IT outsourcing partnership of Wipro that transformed Aircel from a regional operator with eight million subscribers to become a pan-India national operator with 45 million subscribers in a record time frame of seven months. Agrawal conceptualized some very strategic initiatives like the IT balanced scorecard, exhaustive user perception about IT, defining IT strategy for 2010-2011, and Aircel-wide security transformation programme. 

Enas Al Fardan
Manager of marketing strategy and pricing, Batelco

With over six years experience in telecom product management, Enas Al Fardan has managed service portfolios including e-applications, internet, messaging and value added services for Bahrain’s Batelco.
She led and managed many significant projects that have positively impacted the development in Bahrain including the introduction of the revamped low priced broadband packages in 2005 — which grew the active market by more than 50% — and the launch of the fastest fixed internet speed packages in the country in 2009.
In 2009, Al Fardan became the manager of internet and messaging services. In October 2010, she was promoted to head the marketing strategy and pricing section. She has an MBA from the University of Strathclyde in the UK. 
Christophe Alter
Technical chair of the Broadband Forum; broadband networks standardisation manager at France Telecom Orange

Christophe Alter is one of very few people influencing broadband development with a global perspective, addressing the network architecture from end-to-end, including mobile backhaul, next generation access, IPv6 migration, home networks and remote management. He is an untiring advocate for more interoperability and convergence.
Alter is a member of the board of directors at the Broadband Forum and manages Orange’s broadband networks standards strategy. 

Sian Baldwin
Vice president, indirect channels and partners at BT Global Services

A year ago Sian Baldwin was director of broadband and content services at BT Wholesale, where she was responsible for the broadband and content services business in the UK, heading the company’s plan to introduce a content delivery network for ISPs, as well as aiming for a much increased penetration of fibre. She moved in April 2011 to BT Global Services. Baldwin has a degree in artificial intelligence and has studied at Harvard Business School and London Business School. 

Hatem Bamatraf
Senior vice president network development, Emirates Integrated Telecommunication Company (du)

Hatem Bamatraf contributed to the success of du in expanding its market share in the UAE — reaching up to 40% of the market within three years of operation.
He ran a complete revamp of du’s network architecture, introducing NGN, 3.5 G with 42 megabits a second, GPON, CSDB, IMS and femto cells, increasing the level of resiliency by removing all major single point of failures.
He restructured the entire technology department to converge the fixed and mobile units in accordance to the industry trends and business requirements. This has resulted in improved performance and almost 30% saving in capex and opex. 

Mukesh Bavisi
Managing director, Exponential-e
Mukesh Bavisi, a member of the GTB 40 under 40 in 2010, is now managing director of Exponential-e. He has been instrumental in the company punching above its weight and in regularly taking complex business solution wins away from its competitors. Bavisi’s business insight, engineering knowhow and absolute focus on the customer has driven the company’s 30-40% growth for the last four consecutive years.
After pioneering UK VPLS, Bavisi is moving the company to a smart-wired cloud, uniquely combining intelligent networking with cloud bundles on-demand. 

Ajay Chitkara
CEO of global data business, Bharti Airtel

As a driving force behind the huge growth of the data business at Bharti Airtel, Ajay Chitkara has been the catalyst to build a business from scratch to a $450 million operation today. He has also expanded it from a fledgling operation to a truly global enterprise.
With an impressive track record in developing and implementing business strategies, Chitkara is one of the youngest CEOs at Bharti Airtel and in the Indian telecom industry. 

Chong Siew Loong
Head of network and systems, Nucleus Connect
Chong Siew Loong is a very dedicated, detailed professional manager at Singapore’s carrier-neutral national broadband network, Nucleus Connect. Very much a forward thinker, he is strongly motivated to achieve on behalf of his employer.
Chong is a subject matter expert in many fields which he couples with a business awareness of how technology decisions impact on the company success. He embraces new technology easily with a maturity beyond his years.
A strong negotiator, he is highly respected by his peers and staff within Singapore and the wider Asia Pacific region. 

Pieter de Villiers
CEO of Clickatell
Pieter de Villiers is responsible for establishing the world’s leading mobile messaging provider.
De Villiers has led the company through a decade of robust growth and innovation by providing high value, application-to-person SMS services. With his leadership skills and knowledge, he has grown Clickatell’s global coverage immensely.
With his vision, knowledge and exceptional leadership skills De Villiers has successfully helped companies and organizations around the world provide better services to their clients while creating profits. 

Julien Ducarroz
Chief commercial officer at Orange
Julien Ducarroz, based in Romania, is a signficant player in France Telecom Orange’s emerging markets, Eastern Europe area. He fundamentally uplifted commercial success in Romania and had a wider impact on Orange’s success in the region. He has in-depth commercial expertise acquired within five Orange affiliates in developed and emerging markets, and is responsible for €1 billion turnover. His success is recognised across the group for mobile data, consumer voice and customer experience and he is one of the top leaders in France Telecom. 

Reda El Mejjad
CEO, Monaco Telecom International
Reda El Mejjad co-founded one of North Africa’s largest ISPs — with France Telecom Group — and was EVP of Wana, the largest fixed line and 3G provider in Morocco. Now CEO of Monaco Telecom International, part of Cable & Wireless Communications, El Mejjad has transformed its African business from local ISPs to Afinis Communications, a regional network service provider targeting Africa’s top 500 corporations. Afinis is targeting rapid growth over the next few years having already increased order value growth year on year since 2009. 

John Finney
Chief commercial officer, O3b Networks
John Finney has been one of the pioneers of O3b, one of the most exciting satellite start-ups of the past decade.
Over the past two years he has established a global sales and marketing function from scratch and has booked sales on every continent, bringing the contract backlog in excess of $500 million.
His customer-centric approach and people-oriented personality have allowed him to build relationships of trust with senior industry executives and key decision makers. Finney has been a key contributor to the early success of O3b and continues to help drive its progress. 

Alex Franks
UK country manager at Blyk
Alex Franks focuses on delivering business success. His strong sense of leadership and partner management has yielded rapid returns in positioning Orange Shots/Bright Stuff and Blyk Messaging at the forefront of European mobile advertising opportunities.
He is operationally strong, strategically aware and has a natural affinity to carry his team with him. Franks is an asset to a small but extraordinary company. 

Mikhail Gerchuk
VP and chief commercial officer of MTS
Mikhail Gerchuk holds the responsibility for the development and implementation of the Russian company’s marketing, sales and customer service strategies, as well as realization of overall revenue targets. Gerchuk was promoted to his current role in December 2008 and has developed the commercial and marketing initiatives that enabled MTS to increase market share and maintain growth, and has helped to implement the company’s strategy in the increasingly competitive Russian market. 

Heather Kirksey
Director of product and technology strategy for Motive at Alcatel-Lucent
Heather Kirksey has played a critical role, leading teams of technical experts from all over the world, in defining several key specifications relating to the management of devices in the home that have helped enormously to enable the phenomenal growth of broadband over the last five years. This work has included the world-adopted TR-O69 CPE WAN management protocol and many other areas including internet gateways and femto access. 

Gavin Krugel
Director of mobile money at the GSM Association
Gavin Krugel has been part of a number of the world’s most successful mobile financial service implementations, including Wizzit, MTN Banking, mTranZact, Simplus, and the GSMA’s Mobile Money Initiatives for a decade. He has helped develop, implement and drive several highly successful payment products globally. His knowledge, energy and enthusiasm for mobile money services are boundless and he is acknowledged as one of the leading experts and thought leaders in this space. 

Mounir Ladki
General manager at Mycom
Mounir Ladki has developed with passion and energy Mycom’s OSS business unit from a start-up with no customers to an industry leader with a world-class organization across three continents that transformed the OSS of major operators such as Vodafone and Telefónica O2. With his leadership Mycom delivered major global innovations such as the first commercial 3G/3G+ service assurance and the first convergent mobile/IP/fixed solution. An industry visionary in telecoms and IT, Ladki is shaping tomorrow’s network and service management solutions and practices in partnership with industry leaders such as Qualcomm and HP.

Bryan Littlefair
Global chief information security officer, Vodafone
Security is vital to the new value-added services the industry is relying on to generate revenue growth. Hosting customer data and downloadable applications requires robust and responsive security. Bryan Littlefair is transforming Vodafone’s approach to IT security across the global organisation. He promotes a business focused and collaborative attitude to foster global cooperation. Littlefair builds on his career at MCI Worldcom and at BT where he was awarded two patents, to champion IT security as enabler. 

Nikola Ljušev
CEO of Vip operator
Nikola Ljusev joined Vip operator in Macedonia as CEO and CTO at age of 34, the youngest senior executive officer in Telekom Austria group. Despite difficult market environment and more than a decade entrance lag, Vip operator managed to achieve over 16% market share in only two years under his leadership. The growth strategy based on best value for money positioning and exclusive world class innovations, forced mobile incumbents to enter defensive strategy and invigorated competition. Thanks to his extensive knowledge of local market and regulatory environment, Vip operator continues to drive the market and challenges the traditional practices of incumbents’ businesses. 

François Locoh-Donou
Senior VP, global products group at Ciena
François Locoh-Donou has just been moved by Ciena to the US where he takes on a global role for the first time, after running the company’s Europe, Middle East and African operations, when he grew the business by 30% year-on-year, expanding it into 13 countries across the region and developing strong relationships with key decision makers. In the past year he has also integrated parts of the former Nortel’s business into Ciena.

Alastair Lukies
CEO of Monitise
Alastair Lukies is co-founder of Monitise, the world’s first multi network, multi bank, mobile banking and payments service. He missed last year’s 40 under 40 conference because he was negotiating additional investment and alliances in the US. Since then Monitise has unveiled a new global platform and set up alliances in the US, India, Europe and elsewhere, and with Visa, the international card payment group. 

Udit Mehrotra
Director and CMO of VNL; director of Shyam Networks
In 2009 Udit Mehrotra was named Young Innovative Telecom Entrepreneur at the National Telecom Awards of India. This reflects his impressive list of achievements through which he has changed the market for retail and enterprise services in India.
Ubico Networks, founded by Mehrotra in 2007, is now the largest vendor of equipment for in-building and in-campus networks in India. Another venture, CityCom Networks, is India’s first independent intra-city carrier of carriers. He is also a director of the Shyam group and a director of VNL. which specializes in rural telephony. 

Erwan Ménard
COO of DataDirect Networks
This time last year Erwan Ménard was in charge of Hewlett-Packard’s global communications and media solutions operation, driving its core strategy to help service providers succeed in a market that is undergoing historic change. Now he is COO at DataDirect Networks, described as the world’s largest privately held information storage company, with the task of leading the scale-up of operations across the board, as the company keeps delivering aggressive growth.
Ménard has more than 15 years of experience in the telecommunications industry with permanent assignments in Asia, Europe and Americas, across different business models, all along the customer life cycle and with all-inclusive P&L management track record.

Rene Meza
Managing director of Airtel Kenya
Rene Meza has done an outstanding job in the development of telecommunications in east Africa. He has led numerous game-changing initiatives in the category by driving growth through product quality, accessibility and affordability; simplifying product value, presentation and affordability to connect the unconnected.
He has a uniquely refreshing leadership style that recognises and inspires people to own and deliver. His achievements have been recognised through citations by industry experts and stakeholders in the region. 

Giorgio Miano
VP for sales, EMEA, at Syniverse Technologies
During his seven years at Syniverse, Giorgio Miano has used his extensive telecoms knowledge, helping the company expand its business in a number of different roles. Most recently, Miano’s expertise enabled Syniverse’s roaming line of business to deliver double-digit growth to the coverage and value-added services area he oversaw. In October 2010, Miano was appointed to his new role, based on his proven ability to provide strategy and direction to Syniverse’s tier one operator customers. 

Norman Moyo
CEO of Zantel-Etisalat
Norman Moyo has a strategic vision and a great understanding of the African market. In Nigeria, Moyo successfully developed and implemented a breakthrough segmented strategy aimed at young people and the rural population. Not only did these strategies succeed in terms of taking the lead in the youth segment, but he also developed a sustainable rural model able to overcome the challenging conditions in Nigeria — poor infrastructure, theft, no electricity — which at the same time provided support to the local community.
His work has been recognized and now Moyo is managing his operation in Tanzania with great success. 

Upendra Poranki
Product owner for Yuave project at Nokia Siemens Networks

A mathematician and computer science graduate who is 29 in July 2011, Upendra Poranki had a brief stint in the oil industry before moving to telecoms and now works for NSN in Berlin in its Startups@NSN initiative — following a personal invitation by company CEO Rajeev Suri. He runs one of four products now being incubated at the unit, selected down from 200 entries. is being developed as “the for telco applications”, according to Poranki. 

Gauri Raizada
AVP of technology at Tata Teleservices
Gauri Raizada’s most significant accomplishment is her ability to visualise and drive strategies into well executed programmes, keeping in mind the dynamics of the Indian telecom industry.
Her role as a technology lead led her — among other achievements — to roll-out a low-cost home-grown CRM that has now scaled to serve over 80 million subscribers and is tipped to be used by other operators as well.
She launched a self care service that reduced opex by $1.9 million. 

Tarcisio Ribeiro
VP and GM for Europe, Middle East & Africa at Tellabs

Tarcisio Ribeiro, an electrical engineer and highly qualified marketer, has truly global experience. From North America, as Tellabs product manager for Verizon and SBC, he moved to Latin America where he doubled revenues, broke into the Columbia and Peru markets, and grew the Brazil market by 350%. Ribeiro is now driving new revenues in the EMEA region, taking Tellabs into high-growth markets including the Middle East, Russia and Africa. 

Ryan Sher
As COO and former CTO of WIOCC, Ryan Sher possesses a rare combination of technical expertise and business acumen.
He has been a key force in implementing the EASSy submarine cable, a strategically important initiative which is for the first time bringing diverse, fibre-optic international connectivity to businesses and consumers across southern and eastern Africa. Sher’s drive, energy and inspirational leadership have been instrumental in the success of this landmark project — delivered early and within budget. 

Dor Skuler
VP for cloud enablement at Alcatel-Lucent
A former general manager of a Bell Labs Venture, in 2010 Dor Skuler was vice president in Alcatel-Lucent’s strategy and corporate development team, where he led the effort to identify disruptive innovation that could create significant financial opportunities for the company. One such area is cloud computing, where Skuler and the cross-company team defined a differentiated network- based strategy praised by carriers. Skuler is now leading the team responsible for delivering cloud-enablement. 

Guy Sochovsky
At Warburg Pincus, Guy Sochovsky managed the IPO of WNS Global Solutions, the acquisition of MACH and the sale of Loyalty Management Group to Aeroplan, demonstrating skills for corporate development and acceleration. Now a board member of MACH, Sochovsky has substantial finance and M&A experience, including leadership of major corporate development programmes, involving six acquisitions with an aggregate value of over $200 million. 

Eylon Sorek
Director of marketing, Orckit-Corrigent
Eylon Sorek is combining in-depth knowledge and experience in telecommunication marketing and technologies. In the past 10 years Sorek demonstrated excellent professional and personal skills at small, medium and large organizations such as Cisco and NSN. As marketing director at Orckit-Corrigent, Eylon has been able to introduce a new product line to the outbound environment and is expected to leverage his success in the telco industry. 

Dennis Sverdlov
CEO of Yota
Quite simply Dennis Sverlov is changing the face of the telecoms industry. Despite having no telecoms experience prior to founding Yota in May 2007, his work with the company has propelled Russia to the forefront of the development of 4G services.
Sverdlov’s vision of an open telecoms infrastructure has just led to a ground-breaking partnership with Russia’s four main telecoms operators that will see Yota roll out a nationwide LTE network covering 180 cities by 2014. 

Rod Ullens
CEO and co-founder of Voxbone
Voxbone CEO and co-founder Rod Ullens leads a rapid-growing innovator that is advancing IP communications and global connectivity. Ullens spearheaded creation of iNum numbers and has driven their evolution along with high-definition voice, presence, IM, and SMS support added; and non-VoIP carrier involvement building. Voxbone’s iNum and DID numbers let operators and enterprises quickly deploy new services and expand globally with local presence while reducing costs. 

Hajo van Beijma
Director of Text to Change
Hajo van Beijma is the co-founder of Text to Change, a mobile phone based service provider working on healthcare, education, agriculture and accountability in 14 countries in Africa and South-America. TTC has reached over 300,000 mobile phone users with mobile health quizzes, price information systems and mobile learning systems in emerging markets. Until now mobile telephony has never been used on such a large scale and systematic manner for this purpose. According to one report, there was a 35% increase in HIV testing in the regions where TTC ran its text message quizzes. 

Walter Vicente
Walter was instrumental in CSL’s business transformation in Hong Kong, culminating in the development of the company’s Next G network. Vicente is a key architect of CSL’s mobile broadband business model which ensures that the company is able to optimally combine growth and profitability objectives. He is well positioned to help drive CSL’s growth in Hong Kong while maintaining its leadership of the market. 

John Wilkinson
VP at XConnect
A VoIP innovator with 15 years international telecoms experience, John Wilkinson has led commercial operations for XConnect since June 2008 and has been instrumental in propelling IP interconnection, ENUM and NGN services. Wilkinson was pivotal in achieving the industry-first registry tie-up with GSMA PathFinder, launching the first Korean ENUM federation and securing XConnect’s Series B funding. Previously, with Interoute, he led development of Europe’s largest NGN (Arena) and Europe’s first Microsoft OCS-based unified communications suite.

Mohammed Zainalabedin,
General manager of Zain Bahrain
Mohammed Zainalabedin’s effective leadership has helped Zain Bahrain to set technological standards, earning it a reputation as one of the most innovative mobile operators in the Middle East. He has raised the bar on customer service, earning the respect of its customer base.
As a HR focused manager, he has empowered Bahrainis to reach their full potential as employees, many of them moving on to senior roles in the Zain group.
He is known for his dynamism and his analytical approach. These key factors make him a well-rounded industry leader who helps to fulfil the aspirations of all stakeholders. 
If you'd like to meet the GTB 40 under 40 at September's 40 under 40 summit and awards ceremony in London, please email the editor, Alan Burkitt-Gray, on . The summit takes place on September 19-20 2011. The GTB 40 under 40 will be working with Global Telecoms Business on the programme for the event. GTB