Africa’s Smile hires Ahmad Farroukh as operations chief

Alan Burkitt-Gray
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Former CEO of Mobily and of MTN in South Africa and Nigeria joins pan-African Smile Group

Ahmad Farroukh, who has been CEO of MTN South Africa and Mobily in Saudi Arabia in less than two years, has been appointed executive director of operations by Smile Telecoms.

His new employer has mobile businesses in Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Irene Charnley, Smile Group’s CEO, said: “The Africa telecoms market is as dynamic as it is challenging, and Farroukh is perfectly suited to lead Smile’s next exciting phase of growth, as we have transitioned from a spectrum rich start-up to the most reliable data gigabyte factory in sub-Sahara Africa.”

Farroukh was previously CEO of MTN Nigeria and then MTN South Africa, a position he left in July 2015 “due to personal and family reasons”. He quickly became CEO of Mobily, until he left in January 2017 when Etisalat ended its management contract.

Smile, which is majority owned by Saudi-based Al Nahla group, said that Farroukh will spend most of his time in Nigeria.

Farroukh said: “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 and billing platform, which was developed in-house and provides a huge competitive and cost advantage.”