Mobily appoints new CEO after end of Etisalat management deal

Mobily appoints new CEO after end of Etisalat management deal

Saudi Arabian operator Mobily has appointed a new CEO, just two weeks after the company ended its management contract with 27.4% shareholder Etisalat.

The new CEO is Ahmed Abdulsalam Abdulrahman, who takes office today. He is a former managing director and CEO of Global Telecom Holding, the new name for Orascom, in addition to VP for Asia and Africa of VimpelCom, which bought Orascom in 2012.

Sulaiman Al Gwaiz, chairman of Mobily’s board of directors, said: “Mobily has accomplished a great deal of progress in achieving the goals it set itself in 2015, which are in line with telecom and IT sector orientation. Mobily is now aiming to reach an advanced phase of growth and expansion with the joining of [Abdulrahman].”

Al Gwaiz said he was confident that Abdulrahman’s “presence in Mobily will have a positive influence on the next phase of our development.” 

Abdulrahman replaces Ahmad Farroukh, whose resignation was announced yesterday. Farroukh had been at Mobily since only July 2015, having previously been CEO of MTN Nigeria and, from 2014, CEO of MTN South Africa. MTN’s chairman said in July 2015 that he had resigned “due to personal and family reasons”. 

The news comes only a month after rival operator Zain appointed a new CEO for its Saudi Arabian operation. 


Etisalat announced on 24 December 2016 that it was ending its management agreement with Mobily and said the two companies were working on a new contract.

Mobily has had a difficult few years. In 2014 a previous CEO was suspended after an auditing error led the company to restate 18 months of previously-announced earnings. Serkan Okandan, group CFO of Etisalat, stepped in as acting CEO, and the company’s accounts had to be restated, cutting Mobily’s profits by more than $960 million.

Etisalat said in on 24 December 2016: “Etisalat Group and Mobily are currently working on developing a service and technical support agreement which will take into consideration Mobily’s requirements for the coming period given the scale of its operations and customer base.”

Mobily said at the same time that the management agreement had expired “and Mobily and Etisalat Group agreed on the non-renewal of the same”.

Etisalat added: “Etisalat Group and Mobily will continue to work closely and foster the relation between each other to enhance the shareholders’ value of both companies.”

The new CEO of Mobily graduated from Cairo University in communication and electronics engineering in 1992. After working for IBM and for Egypt’s third internet service provider, he helped to launch Mobinil – now Orange Egypt – before moving to Orascom. Between 2009 and 2011 he was CEO of Orascom’s Banglalink Telecom in Bangladesh. 

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