20 June 2018
leadership style is succinctly described as simplify and
transform. As a result of this approach he has helped
Airtel’s global business grow to over 1,200
customers, achieve a high customer satisfaction score and
develop a team with the highest productivity index.
This success has been achieved by Chitkara’s
sharp focus on driving innovative business models, strategic
network infrastructure growth and strengthening core business
processes for improved customer experience.
Chitkara believes technology has the power to improve the
way the businesses work and operate. Under his leadership a
number of innovative products and solutions have been developed
such as the carrier digital platform and bandwidth-on-demand
platform for global carriers, carrier billing platform and
The company has developed IP peering ecosystems for OTTs and
content players, plus next generation data centres for large
enterprises across the globe that are eyeing India as the next
big destination for growth.
This year Alexandre Pébereau
made his triumphant return to the wholesale telecoms industry
after a short break.
Within a matter of days he announced that his new company,
Tofane Global, was to acquire two substantial international
The first acquisition was KPN’s wholesale
operation, iBasis; the second was the wholesale voice business
of the Altice Group, which owns French mobile
operator SFR and the former Portugal Telecom.
Pébereau says the two deals will push Tofane to a
leadership position in the wholesale business.
He is leading the charge in a new wave of much-needed
consolidations in the industry and challenging old business
models in the process.
Once both deals are complete Pébereau will be busy
integrating the two companies into Tofane. But he still has his
eyes set on future acquisitions and deals in the sector, saying
that "there is money available for transformation and
consolidation. It’s about having a clear business
model with a track record."
Andreas Hipp is described by his
team as a man who embodies the true essence of innovation,
entrepreneurship and passion. Having successfully founded and
led Epsilon, he is now again building innovative solutions that
will enable the transformation of the industry.
A little over a year after taking the reins at Cataleya,
Hipp has succeeded in doubling its number of customers and
revenue, while launching disruptive business models,
partnerships and cloud platform solutions.
He also is the founder of Incipio, a start-up accelerator
through which he promotes entrepreneurship and innovation,
while keeping humanity and society in mind.
Through this initiative, he has made contributions to four
promising start-ups – Cataleya, Cirrus Core Networks,
Teragence and Resolver. Additionally he is a member of YET, the
Young Entrepreneurs Taskforce, an organisation that creates
opportunities for young businesses and programmes that foster
innovation and social inclusion.
Bankim Brahmbhatt has more than 27
years’ experience in the industry, and through his
strong business acumen, keen leadership skills and foresight,
he has enabled the company to scale up to its global
An early opportunity identifier, Bankim has worked closely
with multi-functional teams across all four of the
company’s divisions to develop and launch new
These divisions are Broadband Telecom, BridgeVoice,
CallnRoam and Panamax.
He has been an innovator producing disruptive products like
BridgeVoice Pluto which have changed the course of online
Mist is the first AI-driven WLAN
and indoor location services company that is changing the game
when it comes to next-generation Wifi and cloud
Formed of the who’s who of the wireless space,
Mist’s team comes from the likes of Cisco,
Trapeze, Aruba, Airespace and Aerohive. Bob Friday is the chief
technology officer and co-founder of this disruptive company
leading the charge in next-gen Wifi and disruptive
As a wireless entrepreneur Friday is focused on developing
and bringing to market unlicensed wireless technologies. He was
also a key contributor to the HS2.0 industry standard and holds
over 15 patents.
Prior to Mist, Friday served as CTO at Cisco and co-founded
Airespace, a radio and mobility architecture company. Friday is
a champion of disruption, and Mist frequently works with data
and AI startups such as Ople, Cortical.io, Medial EarlySign and
As a former technology executive at
both Vodafone and then the GSMA, Dan Warren has been
instrumental in developing a number of specifications and
He led the GSMA’s definition of VoLTE for the
global industry, as well as being a lead technology expert on
rich communications and all IMS-based projects, embedded mobile
and WiFi roaming.
This unified the technology for the placing of high-quality
voice calls over higher-capacity 4G networks. When he joined
the GSMA back in 2007 he also led on projects on IP-based
interconnect, application awareness and quality of service. Now
at Samsung, Warren is in charge of creating mobile networking
equipment compatible with current existing 5G standards, as
well as helping to create 5G-ready smartphones and other areas
within the 5G ecosystem.
Warren is tasked with spotting technological innovation and
market opportunities that can be used to create new Samsung
Ellie Sweeney has worked in the
global telecommunications industry for 20 years and has held
key senior roles in consumer, small business, enterprise and
government and operations divisions.
Earlier, as executive director for global wholesale at
Telstra, Sweeney was responsible for leading, communicating and
executing the global wholesale and over-the-top
Prior to that, she was executive director of solutions sales
at Telstra, leading the domestic and global sales teams across
voice, mobile, data, cloud, UC, security, managed services,
industry solutions and alliances. Throughout the year the
company has unveiled a number of expansions to its
Telstra boosted its Middle East business expanding its
programmable network to a new point of presence in
The new PoP will offer flexible and dynamic access to
Telstra’s high bandwidth, low latency and secure
network to support businesses operating in the
Enrique Blanco joined
Telefónica roughly 26 years ago and though he has held
numerous positions with the company, currently serves as global
chief technology officer of Telefónica, within the
global resources division.
During his tenure, Telefónica has successfully
ushered in a period of pre-5G initiatives at the company and
has been a noted advocate of Telefónica’s
move to virtualisation.
In September 2017, Telefónica and Nokia carried out
tests to evaluate technologies that are on the way to
Using Nokia’s 4.5G and 4.5G Pro and 4.9G
technologies to conduct trials that make the most of
Telefónica’s existing network assets,
helping the company to meet the growing demands of individual
subscribers and IoT.
Additionally, it was under Blanco’s influence
that Telefónica completed its first massive MIMO trial
in Europe with ZTE, as well as partnership with Ericsson to
demonstrate remote driving technology using 5G connectivity at
Funke Opeke is founder and CEO of
MainOne, which built west Africa’s first
privately-owned subsea cable system that interconnected
Nigeria, Ghana and Portugal in 2010.
Under her leadership, MainOne has grown to become a leading
provider of wholesale and enterprise connectivity and data
centre services across the region – and the company
has played a major role in changing west Africa’s
In March 2018, the company embarked on an ambitious
collaborative project with Avanti to build a satellite gateway.
Avanti’s earth station will be hosted on
MainOne’s data-centre operation
MDXI’s satellite farm in Lagos.
Expansion has also been top of Opeke’s plans
for the company.
In April 2018, MainOne was granted a C1B licence allowing it
to expand national and international connectivity services in
Côte D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast). The company
will now be able to land its submarine cable and build
transmission infrastructure in the country.
Gal Hochberg is the co-founder and
CEO of Clear, a blockchain technology company that aims to
transform global enterprise payments across various
Throughout the past 12 month Hochberg has proved himself a
true innovator in his field. Earlier this year Clear, under the
leadership of Hochberg
and his co-founder Eran Haggiag, completed a blockchain
trial in partnership with Colt and PCCW Global, believing that
the technology will reduce fraud and settlement times and
In this first proof of concept Clear was able to settle a
month of traffic in less than one minute between the two
Outside of his disruptive projects, Hochberg also co-founded
HiredScore, an AI HR company used by Fortune 500 companies to
identify the best candidates for roles.
Appointed in 2016, Håkan
Eriksson joined Telstra from Ericsson where he served as group
CTO and CEO of Australia and New Zealand. For the last two
years Eriksson has been focused on guiding the company to
become leaders in key technologies, drive value through
advanced capabilities and accelerate business and cultural
Since then Eriksson has kept true to this vision with the
development of Telstra’s A$6 billion services and
solutions business for enterprise. The company increased its
European footprint with the availability of its programmable
network via new points of presence in Frankfurt and
It has expanded its service to provide more bandwidth
options and lower latency on its Hong Kong to Singapore and
Japan to Hong Kong subsea routes.
As for investing in innovations, at the start of the year
Telstra launched a new 5G innovation centre in Australia aimed
at testing and developing next generation mobile services ahead
AWS has grown to become a $20
billion run-rate business, growing by about 45% year-on-year
with a market share of approximately 35%. The rise of AWS is
thanks in part to people like Ian Massingham, the
company’s chief evangelist for EMEA.
With a role that many companies would describe as developer
relations, Massingham educates and builds awareness among
software developers and architects, who use the vast array of
APIs available within AWS, so that they can be affective users
of the platform and how to put AWS to work to help them build
products or services. With over 20 years’
experience in the IT industry, Massingham has a individual
technological interest in the development of connected device
and IoT applications, and in server-less architecture patterns
for the deployment of applications in the AWS cloud.
Working with start-ups to large enterprises, he brings
innovative thinking back to headquarters to improve their
Jerzy Szlosarek, CEO of Epsilon,
makes it onto our list because of his vision in executing
cloud-centric networking. For the last 12 months he has been
spearheading initiatives around inter-carrier automation,
federated APIs and delivering 100G on-demand from a web-based
As part of his inter-carrier automation strategy,
Epsilon’s infrastructure has been opened to the
world’s largest networks so that they can offer
on-demand connectivity anywhere in the world.
Through APIs, Epsilon has turned networking into a utility
that can be integrated into existing platforms and used by all
kinds of service providers and start-ups.
The 100G on-demand service is preparing the network to serve
the massive amounts of demand generated by new cloud, IoT and
big data initiatives.
With a 20-year career that started at Ciena and then took
him to Dynergy Europe, gradually Szlosarek is preparing
Epsilon’s partners to deliver the future of
Since his appointment as ETSI
director general in 2011, Luis Jorge Romero has led the steady
charge on the much-needed development of technology
specifications across the industry.
These include the oneM2M global standards initiative for
machine-to-machine communications and the internet of things
This brings ETSI together with eleven other leading
standards bodies, forums and consortiums throughout the world,
and with 200 of their member companies to define the
specifications needed for scalable, secure deployment of M2M
and IoT services.
He has also ensured that ETSI is well positioned to take an
active role in the development of future 5G standards, both
within ETSI and 3GPP, of which ETSI is a founding
In May 2016 he said: "We have set a clear calendar to get to
5G, which will follow the normal process in the 3GPP. In late
2019, the plan is to make the submission to the ITU on
It was two years ago that Dr Marcus
Hacke founded ngena, the Next Generation Enterprise Network
Alliance. The mission of this organisation is to foster network
services built on shared partner networks around the
As a result of his leadership, the organisation has gone on
to recruit the likes of Deutsche Telekom, CenturyLink, Reliance
Jio and SK Telecom as its four founding members, with a total
of approximately 20 active members today.
Ngena was Hacke’s brainchild. He is an avid
champion and advocate for such concepts as the formation of a
strong global alliance of leading telecommunication providers,
connecting the regional networks of telcos to one SD-WAN, use
of end-to-end automated service orchestration to provide hybrid
VPNs and creation of a central B/OSS cloud portal.
Prior to founding ngena, Hacke served for over ten years at
Mayra Arevich Marin has been
president of Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA),
the Cuban fixed and mobile operator, since 2012. During her
six-year term in the role Marin has managed to navigate the
The Federal Communications Commission permitted direct phone
connections with the US in 2015 and a number of US operators
set up roaming deals. In April 2016 she was chosen as one of
the 100+ members of the Central Committee of the Communist
Party of Cuba, and later in the year Eric Schmidt, then
chairman of Google parent Alphabet, met her to agree an
internet access deal.
Most recently ETECSA partnered with SES Networks for
satellite services to enhance connectivity. SES Networks will
enhance ETECSA’s terrestrial infrastructure with
its high-performance fibre-like medium earth orbit (MEO)
capacity – resulting in Cubans and visitors to Cuba
having additional access to reliable and uninterrupted
connectivity throughout the island.
The work of the MEF and in
particular its new global services framework, MEF 3.0, has been
transformative in its impact on telecoms. The framework moves
beyond carrier Ethernet to look at automated and virtualised
services by providing a suite of lifecycle service
orchestration APIs that offer an on-demand, cloud-centric
At the heart of that work is Pascal Menezes,
MEF’s first-ever CTO. In his position Menezes
works in the areas of cloud scale architectures, real-time
media networks, software-defined networks, network function
virtualisation and lifecycle service orchestration.
Since his appointment in March 2016, he has been
instrumental in the development of a number of new standards
and frameworks from the industry body as well as working with
bodies outside of it including the IETF, MEF, IMTC and the
An industry veteran with more than
25 years in the telco sector, Lawson-Shanks is an executive
with eight global technology patents under his belt. As chief
innovation officer at EdgeConneX, Lawson-Shanks is at the
forefront of the company’s newest
In January 2017, EdgeConneX deployed Megaport’s
elastic interconnect fabric in its edge data centres, enabling
more direct connectivity to leading cloud providers.
The company also collaborated with the Sacramento Internet
Exchange in August 2017 to build a connectivity node directly
into its edge data centre.
As a result Sacramento is longer dependent on the San
Francisco Bay area for content delivery, as the node enables
the localisation of traffic to the market and provides tenants
with peering independence and redundancy.
Lawson-Shanks is also a general partner and mentor of
Fortify.vc, a technology start-up fund, another area where
he’s pushing the boundaries of
Having joined Colt back in 2016 as
CTO, in less than 18 months Rajiv Datta was appointed as COO
for the company, tasked with bringing together
Colt’s operational and technological capabilities,
customer experience strategy, and product and innovation teams
under one organisational framework.
Since he entered the role in September 2017, Colt has been
at the forefront of a number of innovative projects and trials.
Earlier this year Colt in partnership with Verizon successfully
demonstrated two-way inter-carrier software-defined network
orchestration during a live trial demonstration. During the
showcase the two companies were able to make real-time
bandwidth changes in each other’s networks through
an Equinix interconnect. The industry first has been described
as the first step towards enabling real-time cross-carrier
During his 20-year tenure with
Deutsche Telekom, Rolf Nafziger has become well-known as an
industry thought leader and driving force behind initiatives
that have helped advance the entire market.
His ability to identify future challenges encouraged him to
make choices that have led to unconventional solutions. This
includes deciding to move away from familiar practices and
helping reinvent in-flight connectivity with the European
Aviation Network, a first hybrid network based on LTE and
satellite that provides unprecedented broadband to passengers
travelling across Europe.
As a result this has fostered external partnerships which
have delved into areas such as IoT and A2P. With
Nafziger’s innovation focus, the International
Wholesale Business Unit has launched new services such as the
MPLS-based mobile IP-VPN.
innovators to watch,