GTB announces Power100 for 2016

Jason McGee-Abe
Published on:

Global Telecoms Business publishes latest annual list of the 100 most powerful people in telecoms today

GTB Power 100 2016

To view the full Global Telecoms Business Power100, with pictures of the 100 executives, click here.


Douglas Suriano - OracleAt Oracle Communications, we believe the cloud is the means by which companies will simplify complex IT environments, optimise services and create agility to keep up with market changes.

Through the cloud, businesses will create instant and meaningful interaction with customers, suppliers and partners, and improve customer experience and supply chain efficiency. Other areas where cloud is going to shine will be security, disaster recovery, and back-up.

Within Oracle Communications, we are transforming our entire portfolio to be not only cloud-ready, but to optimise performance by becoming “cloud-native.” Many of our products are already virtualised and cloud-ready, and by adopting newer technology approaches we’ll transform not just our communications industry products, but those of Oracle at large.

Additionally, we are exploring how cloud-native infrastructure can help our customers move toward a DevOps culture of delivering greater business value by accelerating the development, testing, deployment and operations lifecycle of services. Having software built from the ground up to capitalise on all of the capabilities of the cloud infrastructure, platforms and cloud environment will deliver the highest level of performance and enable near-instant configuration, provisioning and deployment capabilities.

We are also investigating the power of microservices, especially if optimised for the cloud so that different collections of similar functions can be converted into services and made available as hosted components. Then, discrete, reconfigurable pieces of applications can be re-assembled quickly for rapid deployment and updates. These small, single-purpose bits of code will scale independently, and therefore adapt or change without requiring all pieces to do the same.

As we move toward Cloud 2.0 innovation, businesses will achieve Web scale at Web cost, paying only for the CPU cycles consumed, the bytes placed in storage, and the bytes transported on the network.

By subscribing through the cloud to critical functions that would otherwise have to be supported with on-prem hardware or purchases of software, businesses can eliminate the need for customisation. Accessing functional components through SaaS will make them more agile and operationally efficient.

Douglas A. Suriano

Senior VP and general manager

Oracle Communications

Doug Suriano is responsible for managing strategic planning, product development, sales, service, and support for Oracle Communications products.

Oracle in the Cloud

The 100 most powerful, but still not enough women at the top of telecoms

ABGWe started the Global Telecoms Business Power 100 – our list of the most influential people in the industry worldwide – to mark the publication of our 100th print issue, in September/October 2008.

For the first few years, we listed people in order according to what we judged to be their power. Steve Jobs of Apple was number one in 2008. If we were still doing it that way, his successor, Tim Cook, would almost certainly be at or close to the top.

The first list was very dominated by Europeans and North Americans. And there were very few women. In one year there was only one. This year’s total, seven, is still depressingly small, but is about average for the past few years – and probably reflects the top of much of the world’s high-tech industry.

We rethought the Power 100 last year, recognising that this industry is so diverse and so regionalised that it’s unfair to put the CEO of any operator in any order of power. Tim Höttges of Deutsche Telekom is powerful in Europe, and Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries is already exerting powerful influence on the Indian market – but how do you rank them?

As ever, we asked our readers to nominate people for inclusion. Many suggestions came from their own companies and some were put forward by others. The Global Telecoms

Business news and content editor, Jason McGee-Abe, carried out most of the final editorial work, helped by his colleagues, Bill Boyle and James Pearce.

Thank you to the sponsors of this section, which have made it possible to continue to produce the Power 100 as we approach our 150th printed issue. Early in 2017. The sponsors, however, played no part in selecting those to be included.

Alan Burkitt-Gray


Global Telecoms Business

GTB Power 100 2016 Sponsors


The first Global Telecoms Business Power100 was launched in our 100th issue in September/October 2008 and it has evolved over several years. It has now been divided into different categories to make it easier to navigate.

This year we have continued to categorise the list: operators in various parts of the world, over-the-top and content providers, hardware companies, equipment, handsets and chips, and software and service providers, as well as investors and others.

Many of them were nominated by their companies, but some were suggested by others. The final selection was a long and difficult process, which will inevitably disappoint those who have been left out.

However, this is an industry of thousands of powerful and innovative people, and it is always difficult to pick just 100 of them.


Mukesh Ambani, Managing director, Reliance Jio

The much-anticipated commercial launch of Reliance Jio’s 4G services came in September 2016. Ambani, India’s richest man, is behind Reliance Industries’ $21bn investment in setting up infrastructure for 4G services, as well as 250,000km of fibre-optic cable and 90,000 4G towers. Jio has set a 90% population coverage target in India by March 2017.

Alex Jinsung Choi, CTO, SK Telecom

Alex Jinsung Choi is SK Telecom’s CTO, and heads up the company’s corporate R&D centre. He has been charged with building its technology roadmaps and strategies, in particular leading the company’s aggressive push in 5G development, which has been driven by South Korea’s 2018 Winter Olympics. SK Telecom has already collaborated with a number of firms to promote harmonisation and standardisation of 5G.

Chua Sock Koong, CEO, Singtel

Chua, who was recently posted on the list of the 50 most powerful women based outside the US by Fortune, has been at the helm of Singtel’s consumer business, group digital life and group enterprise, including its Australian and international businesses, for nearly a decade. She has grown Singtel into one of Southeast Asia’s biggest telecoms companies.

Ernest Cu, CEO, Globe Telecom

Cu has been CEO of Globe Telecom since October 2008. This year, a $1.5bn deal between Globe Telecom and PLDT to buy the 700MHz spectrum network from San Miguel was
indicatively agreed. The deal if it attains regulatory approval, will firmly support President Rodrigo Duterte’s calls for fast-tracking mobile internet and national
broadband in the country.

Li Ka-shing, Chairman, CK Hutchison

Hong Kong’s richest man, according to Forbes, Li Ka-shing is the chairman of CK Hutchison, which has business operations in over 50 countries. Despite the EU Commission blocking the proposed high-profile sale of Telefónica’s O2 UK to 3UK of CK Hutchison for £10.3bn this year, it cleared in September 2016 the €7.9bn Three Italia and Wind tie-up.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Airtel

Bharti Airtel has invested heavily in boosting its infrastructure and globally, it has a network spanning 225,000km of submarine cable. It has recently pledged a further $9bn in networks under Project Leap over the next three years. It also recently launched its ‘India with Airtel’ offering, bringing all its telecom and connectivity services under one roof to enable swifter business rollouts for global organisations in India.

Andy Penn, CEO, Telstra

Penn was appointed CEO in May 2015 after serving as Telstra’s CFO and head of strategy. Telstra is increasing its capital expenditure to $2.3bn over the next three years to transform the next generation of networks and tomaintain a strategic advantage in a heavily competitive environment. It is set to launch the Telstra Global Media Network, allowing broadcasters and content developers to distribute content around the world, in early 2017.

Masayoshi Son, CEO, SoftBank

SoftBank’s founder and chairman is known for his bold moves and is bulking up operations. SoftBank, an 80% shareholder in Sprint, announced it would acquire UK semiconductor design firm ARM Holdings for £24.3bn. Masayoshi Son remains committed to staying on at the company, which restructured into two subsidiaries this year, especially after SoftBank’s president abruptly resigned in June.

Hiroo Unoura, CEO, NTT

Since his appointment as CEO in 2012, Hiroo Unoura has brought about significant change to NTT. The operator’s systems integration unit, NTT Data, agreed to acquire Dell Services in March 2016 for $3bn. Domestically, NTT Docomo is reportedly increasing its spend on the LTE network by $3.9bn to $95.5bn raising its CAPEX spend in Q1 2016. NTT started operations with NTT Security Corporation in August 2016.

Shang Bing, Chairman, China Mobile

Despite an increasing swell of challenges, Shang Bing, who was named chairman after Xi Guohua’s resignation in August 2015, has helped steer China Mobile into strong H1 2016 results. The former vice minister of China’s communications regulator has helped China Mobile make steady progress in the 4G, data traffic, wireline broadband and digital services business lines.


Dan Caruso, Chairman and CEO, Zayo

A founder of the company in 2007, Dan Caruso transformed Zayo from a humble start-up to its IPO. Zayo has won a contract to expand and upgrade a wireless operator’s fibre to the tower network, extending its dark fibre facilities to over 1,800 cell sites in 26 markets. Zayo reported its last fiscal Q4 dark fibre solutions revenues were up 8.6% from last year.

George Cope, President and CEO, BCE and Bell Canada

George Cope, president and CEO at BCE and Bell Canada, has more than 25 years’ experience under his belt. Cope is leading the company’s transformation and under his guidance Bell has moved to the forefront of communications growth services: wireless, TV, internet and media. Bell is to acquire full ownership of data centre operator Q9 Networks.

Marcelo Claure, CEO, Sprint

Marcelo Claure’s appointment as CEO at Sprint in August 2014 was the first in a string of senior management reshuffles at the firm. He was recently named chairman of the 2017 board of directors of the Wireless Association (CTIA) and will begin his one-year term in the New Year.

Darren Entwistle, CEO, Telus

Having left his CEO position in early 2014 to sit as executive chair of the Telus board, Darren Entwistle was reappointed to the senior executive team in August 2015 as Joe Natale stepped down. Telus increased its net income by 22% from a year ago and increased its net postpaid subscriber base by 61,000 customers.

Thomas Rutledge, CEO, Charter Communications

Rutledge was appointed as president and CEO in February 2012. Charter Communications became the second-biggest cable operator in the US after completing its three-way merger with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.

John Legere, President and CEO, T-Mobile USA

T-Mobile USA CEO John Legere, who took on the role in 2012, has made a name for himself across the industry for being flamboyant. Under his leadership, this year saw the company increase its revenue by 10.6% to $8.6bn, higher than Wall Street experts had expected. It is slowly growing its market share in a highly competitive market with Verizon, AT&T and Sprint.

Lowell McAdam, Chairman and CEO, Verizon

Lowell McAdam, a mobile pioneer having built mobile businesses on three continents since 1980, joined Verizon Wireless in 2000. He was named CEO in 2011 and chairman in 2012. Verizon announced in 2016 that it was to buy Yahoo! In a $5bn deal. McAdam’s expertise in mobile saw Verizon post a 5.3% growth in its mobile business unit. The company has also acquired AOL in a $4.4bn deal, in a bid to advance its ambitions in mobile video advertising.

Glen Post, President and CEO, Centurylink

One of the industry’s longest standing chief executives, Glen Post has served as CEO at Centurylink for more than 20 years. The US operator is focusing on virtualisation and expanding broadband and fibre connections over the next year.

Randall Stephenson, Chairman and CEO, AT&T

Renowned for his innovative and pioneering leadership, Stephenson has over the past year helped AT&T expand its global reach with ubiquitous, fast and highly secure connectivity to 365 million people and businesses in the US and Mexico. AT&T also became one of the first technology providers in 2016 to offer cloud-based virtualised network services globally.

Jeff Storey, President and CEO, Level 3

Storey became CEO of Level 3 Communications in April 2013. He has helped to position the company to capitalise on the industry transition from legacy services to more efficient and secure technologies. Level 3 has expanded its connectivity into more colocation data centres and has enhanced its network security by deploying BGP Flowspec on its global backbone.


Colm Delves, CEO, Digicel Group

Delves continues to lead Digicel’s evolution from a mobile provider into a total communications and entertainment provider across the Caribbean, Central America and Pacific. With fibre to the home and business capabilities and acquired cable TV services in the region, Digicel’s over $5bn investment sees it holding the number one position in 21 of 31 markets – offering 4G in 30.

Amos Genish, CEO and president, Telefónica Brasil

Amos Genish heads up Brazil’s largest telecomsoperator. Up to 2015, he was CEO for Brazilian high-speed internet provider GVT, which was sold by French operator Vivendi to Telefónica for nearly $9bn last year. This year the operator sold 1,655 towers to Towerco Latam Brazil for $214m.

John Reid, CEO, Cable and Wireless Communications

Former Columbus Communications president Reid took over as CEO from Phil Bentley following the completion of Liberty Global’s $7.4bn takeover of the last part of CWC. Reid joined CWC as president of its Consumer Group when it bought Columbus in April 2016 and has been tasked with overseeing the integration of the former UK-based company in to Liberty’s Latin America and Caribbean (LiLAC) arm. This includes the addition of CWC’s 3,600 staff, and its 15 operations in the Caribbean and Central America plus one in the Seychelles.

Carlos Slim, Chairman and CEO, América Móvil

Carlos Slim has a net worth of at least $50bn and has built one of the largest telecoms empires in the world. Yet América Móvil, which still owns 70% of the Mexico’s wireless market, is fighting mounting domestic pressure and its profits dropped 45% in Q2 2016.

Ralph de la Vega, Vice chairman, AT&T

Ralph de la Vega was named vice chairman of AT&T and CEO of business solutions and international, with annualised revenue of more than $77bn. He oversees AT&T’s DIRECTV operations in 11 countries in Latin America; AT&T’s Mexico wireless operations, and AT&T’s Global Business Solutions group, serving nearly 3.5m companies in 200 countries.


Cesar Alierta, CEO, Telefónica

Executive chairman and CEO of Telefónica since July 2000, Cesar Alierta has proven himself to be an expert at international strategy. The Spanish operator is to float 25% of the shares in its newly created infrastructure and tower company, Telxius, by the end of 2016. The company is also reviving the idea of selling shares in O2 UK.

Sigve Brekke, President and CEO, Telenor

Sigve Brekke has been with the carrier since 1999, previously heading up its operations in Asia. Telenor has started to sell its stake in VimpelCom and aims to raise $550m. Telenor has set its sights on setting up a separate business unit focusing on mobile advertising as its network revenues stagnate.

Vittorio Colao, CEO, Vodafone Group

Vittorio Colao has headed up Vodafone Group since July 2008. He oversees the phone giant’s operations in 26 markets. He is looking to build a digital spine within European operations and supports a European gigabit society. He has highlighted Spain and Ireland as key market opportunities.

Johan Dennelind, CEO, Telia Company

Appointed CEO in June 2013, Johan Dennelind is overseeing the operator’s exit from the Eurasia region. Telia Company is focusing its efforts on growing its business in its home markets in Sweden and Europe. The operator said that the decision came after carefully considering what was best for its shareholders, operations, employees and customers.

Carl Grivner, CEO, Colt

Carl Grivner took over as CEO of Colt Technology Services on January 1 2016 and replaced Rakesh Bhasin. He was recruited for his track record of transforming businesses. With an estate of 34 carrier-neutral data centres in Europe and seven managed facilities in Asia Pacific, Colt is to concentrate on cloud and data centre services.

Timotheus Höttges, CEO, Deutsche Telekom

Deutsche Telekom head since January 2014, Timotheus Höttges has been quick to position the carrier as a supporter of digitisation. Under his guidance, the operator has launched its first Pan-Net production site to transform its all-IP transformation across Europe.

Gavin Patterson, CEO, BT

Patterson, who became CEO in September 2013, is helping BT’s drive to rollout fibre broadband in the UK. The British operator dominated headlines with its £12.5bn acquisition of EE and more recently with Ofcom ordering it infrastructure arm Openreach to become separated from BT to open up competition in the UK market.

Alejandro Plater, CEO, Telekom Austria Group

Alejandro Plater took the helm at Telekom Austria Group in March 2015 after Hannes Ametsreiter’s resignation. The CEO’s strategy for the operator is to invest in networks and provide convergence products. His primary focus in the last year has been on investing in its networks globally. By the end of 2018, the group plans to cover more than 70% of all households in Austria with at least 30Mbps.

Stéphane Richard, CEO, Orange

Stéphane Richard has been CEO of Orange since September 2009. In 2016, Orange is aiming to increase its Spanish FTTH coverage to 14m homes by 2020. It is planning to convert its fixed network in Poland to an all-IP operation and is focusing heavily on its mobile money business, which is looking to launch an electronic bank in France, Spain, and Belgium.

Kaan Terio lu, CEO, Turkcell Group

Kaan Terio lu took the reins as Turkcell Group’s new CEO in April 2015. With him at the helm, Turkcell, redefined as an integrated operator, launched LTE-Advanced in Turkey with carrier aggregation, started laying the groundwork for 5G, focused on providing OTT services, became the market leader in fibre and opened one of the largest data centres in Europe.


Jean-Yves Charlier, CEO, VimpelCom

Since replacing Jo Lunder as group CEO in April 2015, Jean-Yves Charlier has laid out his vision for VimpelCom by promising to transform it into a digital operator, rather let it become a dumb pipe. In its Q2 2016 results, the operator reported a 26% year-on-year rise in mobile data revenue and it has focused heavily on the merger between Wind and 3 Italia.

Andrei Dubovskov, CEO, MTS

Andrei Dubovskov has remained bullish as MTS continues to face macroeconomic volatility in its markets of operations. The operator managed to grow LTE subscriber numbers 30% faster in those areas with joint networks in the first phase of a 4G agreement with VimpelCom Russia. MTS has exited the Uzbek market after selling its 50.1% stake in Universal Mobile Systems (UMS). 2016 also saw MTS enter the tower infrastructure market.

Sergey Kalugin, President, Rostelecom

Rostelecom named cable entrepreneur Sergey Kalugin to lead the company in March 2013, replacing Alexander Provotorov as president. The company plans to invest RUB 300bn in network virtualisation. Kalugin was also recently incorporated into the supervisory board of the state-owned space corporation Roskosmos.

Allison Kirby, CEO, Tele2

Allison Kirby assumed the position of CEO from Mats Granryd, the new GSMA chief, in September 2015. 2016 has seen Tele2 buy IoT company Kombridge, TDC Sweden and focus on moving its network and IT functions to the cloud using NFV to cater for 5G. Kirby has more than 25 years of operational experience in fast-moving consumer goods, media, telecoms and retail businesses.

Sergei Soldatenkov, CEO, MegaFon

Soldatenkov relinquished the CEO role at MegaFon after the resignation of Ivan Tavrin in April 2016. He previously served as CEO from 2003 to 2012. MegaFon has made a series of major enhancements to its diverse route for European and Asian Markets (DREAM) project, connecting Europe to China.


Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom

With more than 30 years’ experience in the telecoms sector, Bob Collymore has served as Safaricom’s chief executive since November 2010. A pioneer in the field of mobile money, Safaricom successfully integrated the UN’s SDG initiative into its organisation and is rolling out a mobile-based platform to help low-income households access healthcare services.

Rob Shuter, CEO, MTN Group

Rob Shuter replaced Sifiso Dabengwa as chief executive officer and group president of the MTN Group in June 2016. He was headhunted from Vodacom’s UK parent Vodafone. His appointment comes amid a turbulent time for the operator following a $1.6bn Nigerian regulatory fine.

Christian de Faria, Executive chairman, Airtel Africa

Christian de Faria took full charge of Airtel Africa as CEO in January 2014, having joined the firm in September 2013 as regional CEO, Anglophone. De Faria was elevated to the position of executive chairman of Airtel’s Africa unit in February 2016 and continues to lead all matters relating to legal, regulatory affairs, shareholders, as well as mergers and acquisitions.

Nic Rudnick, CEO, Liquid Telecom

Liquid Telecom CEO Nic Rudnick has continued to lead the company with a focus on bettering the lives of the African community. Another busy year for Nic and his 1,000-strong team as they continue with their mission of connecting Africa. Its fibre network will increase to some 40,000km once the acquisition of South African operator Neotel receives regulatory approval.

Mohamed Shameel, CEO, Vodacom

A Vodacom veteran since 1994 — and former CEO of Vodafone Spain — Mohamed Shameel joined the company’s executive board in 2012 and in 2015. Vodacom is among the companies believed to be interested in buying South African fibre company Broadband Infraco. Vodacom claims to have achieved 1Gbps broadband speeds this year.


Muna Al Hashemi, CEO, Batelco

Batelco’s new CEO Muna Al Hashemi officially took her new role in August 2015 having served as acting CEO for seven months. Al Hashemi continues operator’s drive to deployment of next-generation technologies. Her appointment marked the first time a woman held a CEO position in Bahrain’s telecoms industry.

Khaled Biyari, CEO, STC

Appointed CEO in April 2015, Khaled Biyari previously served as the operator’s SVP for technology and operations. He is reviewing its business models to keep up with the increased demand of digitisation. STC, which is helping to pioneer NFV application in the Middle East, recently signed a deal with Mobily to jointly explore options for sale for their network of transmitter towers.

Scott Gegenheimer, Group CEO, Zain

Serving as Group CEO since December 2012, Scott Gegenheimer has spearheaded Zain’s international expansion across the Middle East and Africa. The company has invested heavily in network upgrades, rolling out 4G in several key markets and has enabled Zain to grow its data revenues impressively, which were in excess of $4bn in 2015. Gegenheimer also sits on the board of Zain Saudi Arabia and Inwi in Morocco.

Saleh Al Abdooli, CEO, Etisalat

Al Abdooli was appointed as CEO in March 2016 after a four-year stint running the group’s UAE operations. He has been tasked with leading the group into the next phase of growth and to aim to replicate the success of the domestic operations at the group level.

Sheikh Saud bin Nasser Al Thani, CEO. Ooredoo Group

Sheikh Saud Bin Nasser Al Thani was appointed as Group CEO of Ooredoo in November 2015, replacing company veteran Nasser Marafih, as part of a senior management reshuffle. He joined Ooredoo (when it was Qtel) in 1990 and was recently CEO of Ooredoo Qatar in 2011. Ooredoo signed a new $1bn revolving credit facility agreement earlier this year.


Tim Cook, CEO, Apple

Officially named CEO of Apple in August 2011, Cook had the daunting task of filling predecessor Steve Jobs’ shoes. Apple is now on the seventh incarnation of its iPhone and iPad, which continue to show strong sells globally and attracted major media hype, despite the controversy about the loss of the 3.5mm headphone connection.

Nobuhiro Endo, Chairman of the board, NEC

Nobuhiro Endo has been with NEC since 1981, became president in 2010, and chairman this year, after heading strategy, which saw the company move into OSS with NetCracker — to which it then added Convergys’s billing unit. The company has become a major supplier to Telefónica in the operator’s pioneering strategy to move towards cloud services, software defined networks and virtual network operation.

Ulf Ewaldsson, Group CTO, Ericsson

Ulf Ewaldsson has been CTO of Ericsson since February 2012 after five years as head of radio at the company’s networks business unit, where he was instrumental in helping to create products, such as HSPA and LTE in the radio-access network. However, following the CEO’s departure, the next few months will be crucial for him as Ewaldsson leads Ericsson’s work towards 5G commercialisation from 2020.

Tom Fallon, CEO, Infinera

Optical networking specialist Infinera competes in its increasingly important niche with the major equipment companies and has won contracts from many advanced operators. Former Cisco executive Thomas Fallon moved to Infinera in 2004 and became CEO in January 2010 and was also president until 2013. The company expanded last year with the purchase of Sweden’s Transmode for the equivalent of $350m.

Jan Frykhammar, CFO and acting CEO, Ericsson

The board of Ericsson gave CFO Jan Frykhammar the job of holding the company together as acting CEO until it finds a replacement for Hans Vestberg, who left the company in a dawn coup in July after major shareholders rebelled because of falling sales. Frykhammar made it clear he was “not aspiring to permanently take on the CEO role”, so the search for a permanent replacement goes on.

Terry Matthews, Chairman, Wesley Clover and Mitel

Serial entrepreneur Terry Matthews is chairman of Mitel, now providing unified communications equipment, which is owned through his investment firm Wesley Clover. He set up Mitel in the 1970s and bought it back in 2000, just as he sold Newbridge Networks to Alcatel. Mitel, a public company since 2010, has been acquisitive: it bought Aastra Technologies in 2013, Mavenir Systems in March 2015, and Polycom in April 2016.

Rami Rahim, CEO, Juniper Networks

Rami Rahim was employee number 32 of Juniper Networks, back in 1997, as an engineer on its core router, and became CEO in November 2014, after spending time as executive vice president and general manager of Juniper’s development and innovation organisation, overseeing the product and technology portfolio. Now he’s pushing the company into the world of virtualisation.

Ren Zhengfei, Founder and president, Huawei

Ren Zhengfei set up Huawei in 1987, selling telephone exchange kit imported from Hong Kong. Since then the company has grown to compete directly with Ericsson as one of the world’s two biggest equipment vendors. Like its rival ZTE, the US is still excluded from its markets. This year the company recorded a huge increase in sales while Ericsson’s numbers were flat, leading to the swift disappearance of Ericsson’s CEO.

Chuck Robbins, CEO, Cisco

Chuck Robbins took over in July 2015 from John Chambers, who had led since 1995, and immediately set about a management reshuffle. Out went a number of wellknown names, including former CTO Padmasree Warrior. Robbins, with Cisco since 1997, has the personal support of Chambers, who said: “Chuck is unique in his ability to translate vision and strategy into world-class execution, bringing together teams and ecosystems to drive results.” Cisco now has a joint venture with Ericsson and is sometimes seen as a potential bidder.

Simon Segars, CEO, ARM Holdings

Electronics engineer Simon Segars joined ARM as the sixteenth employee of the chip maker in 1991, and he succeeded Warren East as CEO in 2013, after holding senior positions in the company’s processor and physical IP divisons. As such, he’s wooed SoftBank to make an agreed bid of £24bn for the company. He is driven by a vision of technology that empowers people and businesses to improve social, economic, education and health outcomes.

Jong-Kyun Shin, CEO and president, Samsung Electronics

Jong-Kyun Shin has been president of Samsung, Electronics since 2012 and CEO since 2013, but he has also been head of IT and mobile communications since 2009, leading the company’s spectacular race with Apple in the handset and tablet business. That unit was combined with IT in 2011, putting Shin into a powerful position in Samsung’s business covering the whole telecoms industry. He was previously head of R&D for the mobile unit.

Gary Smith, President and CEO, Ciena

Gary Smith has run Ciena for nearly two decades. Under Smith’s tenure, Ciena has consistently delivered significant advancements in nextgeneration networks. A year ago, he steered the acquisition of Cyan, strengthening the company’s position for the next major wave of industry growth as the market continues its shift toward virtualisation and softwaredefined networking.

Rajeev Suri, President and CEO, Nokia

This year saw Rajeev Suri, CEO of Nokia Siemens Networks since 2009 and then all of Nokia from May 2014, realise his dream and complete the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent. The expanded Nokia has products in markets that Suri had been taking NSN/Nokia out of for six years. The deal gave him significant market share in the US mobile industry, where Nokia was never strong.

Zhao Xianming, President, ZTE

Zhao Xianming was moved into the leadership position in ZTE after the previous CEO, Shi Lirong, resigned this year. Zhao was CTO of the company since 2014. ZTE said: “The new leadership will strive to comply with the highest business standards.”


Eli Gelman, CEO, Amdocs

Eli Gelman continues to lead Amdocs into new strategic directions, including innovative offerings around digital commerce and care, the enterprise sector, network functions virtualisation and big-data analytics. Its NFV strategy includes collaborating with AT&T on AT&T’s open-source Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy which Amdocs will market globally. This, believes Gelman, will help companies deploy this open-source software to build their own software-centric network services.

Stephen Gray, President and CEO, Syniverse

Stephen Gray became Syniverse’s president and CEO in August 2014 three years after joining the company’s board following Syniverse’s acquisition by the Carlyle Group – where he was operating executive with the private equity company’s telecommunications, media and technology group. Now he oversees the development of Syniverse’s global business, including IPX, which has enabled the first commercial VoLTE roaming service.

Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft

Satya Nadella took over as CEO of Microsoft in February 2014 and a year later wrote off the company’s $7.6bn purchase of Nokia’s handset business. Former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop left at about the same time. The whole Nokia disaster has almost overshadowed Microsoft’s earlier $8.5bn purchase of Skype – technology that is now incorporated into Microsoft’s business software – and in June this year the company agreed to buy LinkedIn for $26bn.

Abidali Neemuchwala, CEO, Wipro

Abidali Neemuchwala has been CEO of Wipro since February 2016, having been COO for the previous 10 months. He was previously at Tata Consultancy Services, where he worked for 23 years, rising to be head of business process services, responsible for 12% of the company’s revenues. At last year’s Oracle Open World he said customers in future would buy digital experience as-a-service.

Ginni Rometty, Chairman, president and CEO, IBM

Ginni Rometty has led IBM since 2011 after spending time as senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing and strategy. She joined in 1981 as a systems engineer, so saw the company’s near-death experience in the late 1980s. In 2014 she announced an expansion of its data centre and cloud storage business, but sales have been flat and she is quoted as saying IBM has “to reinvent ourselves like we’ve done in prior generations.”

Doug Suriano, Senior VP and general manager, Oracle Communications

Doug Suriano is responsible for managing strategic planning, product development, sales, service, and support for Oracle Communications products. He joined Oracle in 2013 as vice president of products for Oracle Communications following the Tekelec acquisition. In this role, Suriano oversaw product development and product management for the network signalling and policy management product portfolio. 

David Walsh, CEO, Genband

David Walsh has run Genband since 2013 but joined five years earlier when the company merged with NextPoint. He has led the company’s transformation from an infrastructure provider to a leader in real-time software solutions. One industry-changing initiative was launching Kandy, a cloud communications platform that allows companies to embed real-time contextual communications directly into business applications in minutes.

Meg Whitman, President and CEO, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise

Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman became CEO of Hewlett-Packard in 2011 and led the bold move to split the company into two. Following the split, she is president and CEO of HPE, which is responsible for enterprise computer infrastructure, software, cloud and services businesses – including NFV/SDN-based products for the telecoms industry. It expects annual revenue of more than $50bn. However, she is also chair of HP Inc, the other half of the post-split company, which continues to make PCs and printers.


Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon

The American entrepreneur and investor Jeff Bezos is estimated to be worth $66.7bn, due in part to a recent spike in Amazon’s stock price, ranking him the 3rd richest person in the world on the Forbes list of billionaires, bumping Warren Buffett into 4th place. Bezos still owns the equivalent of 18% of shares in the company and is likely to continue his focus on new technologies, which includes the future delivery of packages to customers via drones. As well as the company’s successful cloud business, Bezos will be hoping to take the fight to Netflix through its video streaming service Instant Video. In 2013, Bezos purchased The Washington Post newspaper. A number of other business investments are managed through Bezos Expeditions.

Daniel Ek, CEO, Spotify

The music streaming business has grown hugely in recent years, but it has proven difficult for companies to monetise. Ek will be hoping ad revenues will be the answer, as the online music streaming platform saw a 53% increase in ad revenue in the first quarter of 2015. Spotify now has 40m paid subscribers, up from 30m 6 months ago. The music streamer also has about 70 million additional users of its free ad-supported service. The news came in a tweet from Ek. These are testing times for Spotify which now also faces competition from the likes of Apple Music and Deezer and while it may have 40m subscribers the question is how many of them pay top dollar. In August 2016, Ek married Sofia Levander, his longtime partner, with whom he has two children.

Reed Hastings, CEO, Netflix

The co-founder and CEO of Netflix Reed Hastings has enjoyed a remarkable career to date which has seen the company develop from a mail-order DVD rental company to a truly international streaming business. Hastings has continued the company’s rapid international expansion this year by making its debut in Asia. Hastings controversially stepped into the Presidential race this year saying: “Trump would destroy much of what is great about America. Hillary Clinton is the strong leader we need, and it’s important that Trump lose by a landslide to reject what he stands for.” Hasting has predicted that in the next 10 to 20 years, all TV will be on the internet. If he’s correct, Netflix would appear to be one of the main beneficiaries.

Robin Li, Co-founder and CEO, Baidu

Robin-Li is the co-founder, chairman and chief executive at China’s answer to Google, Baidu. Baidu, China’s largest search engine, has cut its quarterly revenue forecast by roughly 10% the FT said recently, citing the impact of new regulations in the wake of a scandal over an advertisement for cancer treatment. The company said the new rules on advertising would seriously affect its business in the short term, sending its New York-listed shares down 5.4% - in afterhours trading in late August. Regulators last month ordered Baidu to cut back on the number of sponsored ads per page and to vet advertisers better, following the death of a 21-year-old student from a rare form of cancer in April.

Sundhar Pichai, CEO, Google

Sundhar Pichai took on the role of Google CEO from Larry Page in August 2015, when it was revealed that Page would be moving to head up Alphabet, Google’s new holding company. Pichai joined Google in 2004 and was fundamental in the development of Gmail, Google Maps and Chrome OS. He was a strong contender for the CEO position in 2014 and in October 2014 Page appointed him product chief. In April this year, Google launched an MVNO with Sprint and T-Mobile. In August this year Pichai defended the company’s tax practices and said it would not be paying any more tax unless international tax law is changed. Google pays taxes in Ireland, where it is charged at a lower rate, and is accused of owing €1.6bn in unpaid taxes in France. George Osborne, the former Chancellor, was criticised for striking a tax deal with Google in January, in which it agreed to pay £130m for ten years of tax.

Susan Wojcicki, CEO, YouTube

Susan Wojcicki moved from SVP of advertising and commerce at Google to CEO of YouTube in February 2014, having championed the company’s $1.65bn acquisition of the video site. The site has continued to go from strength-to-strength, attracting a billion unique visitors a month while recording revenues of $4bn in 2014. In October 2015, YouTube launched a new subscription service called YouTube Red to compete with the likes of Netflix and Hulu. As of August 2016, Wojciccki’s net worth is $350m.

Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO, Facebook

Perhaps one of the most famous names not just in the industry but across the globe is Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of social networking site Facebook. Launched from a Harvard dorm room and hitting one million users after just six months in operation, Facebook has taken the world by storm. Thanks to gains in mobile ad revenue. Revenues in the second quarter of 2016 rose about 59% to $6.44bn, topping the $6.02bn that analysts predicted. Profits increased to $2.1bn, or 71 cents per share, exceeding analysts’ estimates of 57 cents per share.


Nan Chen, Director, MEF

Nan Chen is a prominent figurehead throughout the carrier Ethernet revolution as well as a pioneer of the carrier Ethernet exchange. As founder of MEF, he has established carrier Ethernet as the predominant technology for businesses and mobile infrastructure, defining industry standards and creating certification programmes. As co-founder of CENX, the first carrier Ethernet exchange in the market, he played a significant role in establishing carrier Ethernet exchanges worldwide.

Mats Granryd, Director-general, GSMA

After his five-year term as CEO at Tele2, Mats Granryd took on the reins at GSMA as director general in January 2016, succeeding Anne Bouverot who has moved to head French security firm Morpho. During his tenure at Tele2, Granryd has trimmed down the company’s operations from 24 countries to nine as well as focussed his efforts on value for money and customer service, which has contributed to the operator’s steady growth and reduction in customer churn.

Luis Jorge Romero, Director general, ETSI

Since his appointment as ETSI director general in 2011, Romero has led the steady charge on the much-needed development of technology specifications across the industry. These include this year the first specifications for the oneM2M global standards initiative for machine-to-machine communications. In May 2016 he said We have set a clear calendar to get to 5G, which will follow the normal process in the 3GPP. By mid to late 2018 we will have a first phase of what is going to be released. In late 2019, the plan is to make the submission to the ITU on 5G.

Margrethe Vestager, Competition Commissioner, European Commission

Having served as economy minister and deputy minister of her native Denmark, Margrethe Vestager cuts an imposing and fearless figure in Brussels. Since her appointment last year, the European competition commissioner has made swift and ambitious changes, taking formidable titans such as Google to task in an antitrust investigation. She has also adopted a tougher stance on mergers, stating her intention to curtail consolidation in Europe’s telecoms market. She serves as an inspiration for the main character in the TV series Borgen, who tries to juggle family life and politics.

Tom Wheeler, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission

Wheeler was appointed by US President Barack Obama in May 2013 to head the commission, following Julius Genachowski’s departure. The net neutrality order, passed over a year ago, is Wheeler’s signature move during a torid period as head of the commission. At the time he said: “Today’s ruling is a victory for consumers and innovators who deserve unfettered access to the entire web, and it ensures the internet remains a platform for unparalleled innovation, free expression, and economic growth. After a decade of debate and legal battles, today’s ruling affirms the Commission’s ability to enforce the strongest possible Internet protections – both on fixed and mobile networks – that will ensure the internet remains open, now and in the future.”


Marc Andreessen, Founder, Andreessen Horowitz

As a venture capitalist, Marc Andreessen has backed a wide range of companies such as Twitter, Skype, Groupon, Instagram and Airbnb. Andreesen is one of the key players in making the internet accessible with his creation of web browser Netscape Navigator. He sits on the board of Hewlett-Packard and Facebook. As society continues to progress through advances in science and technology, Andreessen said, talking to Inc., it will become a bigger challenge for investors to stay optimistic, but that it is important to keep an open mind. “We fund maybe one in a hundred of the new ideas we see,” he said. “The level of effort required to keep an open mind keeps getting higher and higher.” Entrepreneurs should also try to take heart in the face of criticism. “For every big thing, experts are on the record as saying it is stupid, it is not going to work,” said Andreessen.

Martin Bouygues, Chairman, Bouygues Telecom

By rebuffing offers of takeovers from fellow billionaires Xavier Niel and Patrik Drahi, the French tycoon Martin Bouygues must believe Bouygues Telecom has what it takes to stand on its own and challenge its rivals. In 2015 Martin Bouygues rejected Iliad’s €5bn offer and turned down Altice’s €9bn deal earlier this year – a price estimated at around 20% above its market value. The current operating margin rose to 2.9% thanks to stable profitability at the construction businesses and improved profitability at TF1 and Bouygues Telecom.

Patrick Drahi, Founder and chairman, Altice

Altice recently announced the reorganisation of its group management structure ahead of the closing of the acquisition of Cablevision by Altice USA. Dexter Goei was appointed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Altice USA. He stepped down as Chief Executive Officer of Altice N.V. in order to focus his leadership on the successful integration of Cablevision and Suddenlink within Altice and the further development of Altice USA. Patrick Drahi stepped down from his position as President of Altice N.V. As founder and controlling shareholder of Altice, he will continue to set out the strategic, operational and technological agenda for the group and will lead the newly formed Altice Group Advisory Council.

Mikhail Fridman, Chairman, LetterOne

Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman is on the hunt for US and European technology and telecoms companies and assets that are either financially distressed or struggling. It’s a task that only a businessman of Fridman’s acumen can take on. In April 2015, Fridman set up his private equity-style fund LetterOne to invest in telecoms and technology companies as part of a move to diversify from its oil and gas investments. The Russian oligarch already owns two assets in Alfa Telecoms, which controls a 13% stake in Turkcell, and Altimo, which owns a 47.85% share in VimpelCom.

John Malone, Chairman, Liberty Global

Netflix has just signed a multi-year deal with Liberty Global, which means that Netflix’s content will be made available to Liberty Global customers in over thirty countries in Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The partnership follows the launch of Netflix on Liberty Global’s UK platform Virgin Media in 2013. The Netflix deal complements Liberty Global’s investment in content through acquisitions, partnerships, and original commissions, alongside the $2.5bn spent each year on licensed content for its video platforms.


Amr Eid, Acting CEO and COO, GBI

Amr Eid brings over 23 years of experience in the technology and telecommunications industries, having worked at leadership positions for numerous global multinational companies. He enjoys a solid industry track record of achievements in building new companies, divisions and subsidiaries, creating innovative go to market strategies, driving corporate transformation and establishing sustainable industry synergies.

Bill Barney, Chairman and CEO, Global Cloud Xchange

Bill Barney was appointed CEO of Reliance Communications (Enterprise) in March 2015 to oversee the Enterprise, IDC and national long distance businesses in India in addition to his role as chairman and CEO of Global Cloud Xchange (GCX), formerly Reliance Globalcom, which he has headed since January 2014. Under his leadership, GCX has entered a new stage of growth and expansion with a successful debut in the international capital markets and the launch of the company’s next generation content and Cloud delivery platform across India and globally.

Vinod Kumar, Managing director and group, CEO, Tata Communications

Vinod Kumar joined Tata Communications in April 2004, just when the company was embarking on its journey of international growth. He was closely associated with the acquisitions of the Tyco Global Network and Teleglobe and assumed responsibility as managing director of the company’s international operations. Subsequently, he was promoted to chief operating officer, responsible for managing the global data business unit as well as the engineering and operations functions.

Bjarni Thorvardarson, CEO, Hibernia Networks

Bjarni Thorvardarson has spearheaded what is arguably one of the most exciting developments in the subsea telecoms industry this year, the Hibernia Express. Thorvardarson joined Hibernia Networks as CEO in 2005 from its parent company CVC, and has driven the Hibernia Express project from day one. The cable was the first transatlantic route in 12 years.

Chris Wood, CEO, WIOCC

Chris Wood’s vision of making an enduring contribution to African communications has continued. As CEO at the company since 2008, Wood drove the company through its start-up phase into full scale operation. This year, Wood has overseen the launch of four PoPs in Zambia, as well as the rapid increase in capacity to and from the EASSy cable in Somalia; now he is leading the company into building metro nets in South Africa.


Steve Collar, CEO, O3b

Steve Collar has been involved with O3b Networks since its inception and served on the board before becoming CEO in March 2011. O3b’s satellites reach consumers, businesses and other organisations in over 180 countries across Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific. Commercial service started in September 2014. Investors include SES, Google and Liberty Global.

Michel de Rosen, Chairman and CEO, Eutelsat

Eutelsat’s fleet of satellites covers Europe, Africa, the Middle East and large parts of the Asia and the Americas. Michael de Rosen joined Eutelsat in July 2009, was appointed CEO in November 2009 and chairman in September 2013. He began his career in the French Ministry of Finance, and continued in the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Industry, Telecommunications and Postal Services.

Matt Desch, CEO, Iridium Communications

The next few months will be tense for Matt Desch, who has been CEO of Iridium for 10 years. The first 10 satellites in the company’s new fleet were due to be launched by SpaceX by now, but have been delayed by a SpaceX explosion – a different rocket – on 1 September. The company plans to launch all 70 satellites on Space X by the end of 2017, to give the company a global network, including the polar regions.

Rupert Pearce, CEO, Inmarsat

CEO since January 2012, lawyer and venture capitalist Rupert Pearce is leading Inmarsat as it begins the deployment of its Global Xpress high-speed mobile broadband network. Commercial service started at the end of 2015 with three satellites in orbit. Boeing is building a fourth, due for launch later this year.

Stephen Spengler, CEO, Intelsat

Intelsat is the daddy of all the satellite companies, having been formed as an intergovernmental organisation in 1964, with the first satellite going into orbit a year later. Stephen Spengler, CEO since April 2015, has been in the industry for three of those five decades, and the company has launched its first two Epic satellites, the latest of which is due to deliver digital data services to mobile and fixed operators in Africa by November. Intelsat plans seven Epic satellites in all.

Greg Wyler, CEO and founder, OneWeb

O3b founder Greg Wyler went on to set up OneWeb in 2012, with backers including Paul Jacobs of Qualcomm, Richard Branson of Virgin, Sunil Bharti Mittal of Bharti Airtel, and former Interoute CEO Ohad Finkelstein. The company aims to build a fleet of 700 micro-satellites, each weighing 150 kilograms, to bring internet to all, to be launched at the rate of 15 a week.