Smile Telecoms Cofounders Step Down, Osman Sultan Appointed as New Group Vice Chairman

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Smile Telecoms Co-ounders Step Down, Osman Sultan Appointed as New Group Vice Chairman

Africa-focused telecommunications company, Smile Telecoms has appointed Osman Sultan as Vice Chairman of the Group. This follows the retirement of Co-founders, Ms Irene Charnley and Mr Mohammed Wajih Sharbatly from all the Group’s boards.

Speaking on the pair’s retirement, Chairman of the Smile Group, Mr Ibrahim H. Sharbatly said:

Today we say farewell to our Founder and Deputy Chairman, Ms Irene Charnley. We wish her all success in her new endeavors. We also want to say farewell to our Co-Founder and Co-Chairman Mr Mohammad Wajih H. Sharbatly, may God bless them both.

Mr Ibrahim H. Sharbatly, Chairman of the Smile Group

“While we understand the desire of our Founders to retire after a challenging journey, we have been preparing over the past months for the future. We want to ensure that we bring the best competencies on board to enable the Group to face the various challenges and transformations that the Telecoms sector faces and take advantage of the opportunities ahead. Africa is the fastest-growing continent globally, and data is the new future in the world we live in,” he added.

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Ms Irene Charnley, Smile Founder

Smile currently conducts its operations across Africa in Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

As part of the transition to new leadership, founding CEO of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), Mr Osman Sultan becomes the new Vice Chairman of the Group. Sultan assumes the role after serving as Chairman of the Restructuring and Transformation Committee of the Smile Group since July 2020.

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Osman Sultan, Credit: Arabian Business

Prior to this, he led EITC operations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as CEO for 14 years between 2006 and late 2019. Sultan had previously founded Egypt’s oldest mobile network operator Mobinil (now Orange Egypt), where he was at the helm of affairs from 1998 until the end of 2005. The telecom mogul sits on the boards of several ICT Companies and Academic bodies.

Former corporate and investment banker, Mr Albert Momdjian has also been appointed as Board Member of the Group and Chairman of the Group’s Audit Committee. Having been involved in over $100 billion worth of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A), capital markets and restructuring transactions, Momdjian possesses 27 years of corporate investment banking and restructuring experience primarily in Media and Telecoms across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

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Albert Momdjian, Credit: Finews

Added to these nominations is the appointment of Mrs Caroline Chang as a member of the Group’s Audit Committee. Recently appointed as a Board Member of the Group in November 2020, Mrs Chang is an experienced board member and former EMEA General Counsel of Farallon, the leading US hedge fund that has been active in Africa and Emerging Markets.

All these appointments come after Mr Raihan Shaikh-Khaleel was designated Board Member of the Group in September 2020. Sitting on various Boards of companies involved in restructuring, Khaleel is a Partner at Swinton Capital and has garnered over two decaades of experience as a restructuring advisor in EMEA and across other borders.

Commenting on the changes, Smile Group CEO Ahmad Farroukh said, “I am looking forward to working with the new Board Members and counting on their diverse experience to prepare for the company’s future in the challenging times the industry is going through.”

Smile has announced that the Group Board approved the Head Office and Centre of Main Interest (COMI) of Smile Telecoms Holdings Ltd to shift from Mauritius to England and Wales.


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