Avanti appoints industry veteran in new role of CCO

27 November 2017 | Jason McGee-Abe


Satellite operator Avanti Communications has snapped up Toby Robinson from Eaton Towers and named him in the newly created role of chief commercial officer (CCO).

Alan HarperRobinson joins from Eaton Towers, the towers and masts business operating across Africa, after eight-and-a-half years at the company, first as commercial director and since then as group chief commercial officer and a member of the start-up management team at Eaton Towers which has grown to 5,000 towers across Africa.

“This is a new – and vitally important – role at Avanti and we are delighted to have someone of Toby’s experience and track record joining us at this moment in our development,” said Alan Harper, chief executive officer of Avanti, which announced in mid-September that Nigel Fox had re-joined the Avanti board as chief financial officer.

“I have known him within the industry for some years and can attest to his technical and industry skillset, contact base, drive and intelligence.  His arrival represents a major vote of confidence in the business, its abilities and its ambitions.”

Robinson was responsible for the acquisition and management of all the towers in the network, handling negotiations with Bharti Airtel and Orange in the acquisitions programme, also dealing with key customers in the region, including: Vodafone, MTN, Etisalat, Google and Africell.

Toby Robinson Avanti Communications“Avanti is a company with market-leading expertise and proven technical excellence and I hope to bring my experience in the sector to bear in helping it grow and perform to its potential," said Robinson. “There’s a very strong team here and I believe we can take the business forward in a material way.”

Robinson, who was also a TMT specialist consultant at Arthur Andersen, Mercator and OC&C Strategy earlier on in his career worked with Harper at Eaton Towers.

Harper became acting CEO of Avanti Communications after the company announced that David Williams was "stepping down from the board and leaving the company". Harper, who was strategy director of Vodafone until 10 years ago, founded Eaton Towers with former Orange boss Sanjiv Ahuja plus Terry Rhodes, one of the founders of Celtel. He is chairman of Irish fibre company Gigabit and of solar power company Azuri Technologies. He is a non-executive director of South Africa’s MTN group.

Avanti Communications has chosen a new launch slot for its next satellite, Hylas 4, which means it will be in service in the middle of March 2018.