Tom Gutjhar leaves Airtel Uganda, returning to Algeria as Djezzy CEO


Airtel Uganda’s outgoing CEO Tom Gutjhar has seemingly gone full circle as he will be returning to Algeria to head Djezzy, the telco where he worked in various roles from 2005 to 2008.

Airtel recently announced that Gutjhar had resigned from his role in Uganda from June and would be replaced by Anwar Soussa from Airtel’s Chad subsidiary. He joined the Airtel Group in August 2014 and posted to head Airtel Uganda.

(TOP: Tom Gutjhar, outgoing Airtel Uganda CEO).

Last week, VimpelCom – which owns Djezzy – announced the appointment of Gutjahr as CEO of Djezzy, its Algerian operation, from July 1, 2016, adding that the incoming CEO “will be responsible for leading Djezzy’s transformation into a digital leader while leveraging the brand’s strong position in the local market.”

Commenting on the appointment, Jon Eddy, VimpelCom Head of Emerging Markets, said: “We are pleased to welcome Tom to the VimpelCom team and as Djezzy’s new CEO. Tom has extensive experience in senior roles in the frontier markets and is ideally placed to lead Djezzy as it transforms into a digital leader.  Djezzy has a proud history in Algeria, serving more than 17 million customers, and Tom will play a key role in driving the change to ensure Djezzy meets the future needs of Algerians as the economy develops.  Algeria is a key market for VimpelCom and we look forward to supporting Djezzy with the benefits and synergies that come from being part of our international group.”

“I am very pleased that Tom will be joining our team. In addition to his deep knowledge of Algeria, he brings to Djezzy vast experience in digital services and transformation. I look forward to working with Tom and our colleagues across the organization to create the new Djezzy which is focused on bringing improved digital services to our customers in Algeria,” said Vincenzo Nesci, Executive Chairman of Djezzy.

VimpelCom operates under the Djezzy brand name in Algeria through a strategic partnership with the Fonds National d’Investissement (FNI), the Algerian National Investment Fund, and has been a pioneer in the Algerian market since 2001. Under Tom’s leadership, Djezzy will bring new digital services to the Algerian market including the further rollout of 3G and 4G, mobile financial services and supporting startups and B2B services – all aimed at digital enablement of the Algerian market.

Prior to joining Airtel Uganda, Gutjhar served as CEO of Tigo Paraguay from 2012 to 2014, CEO of Tigo Rwanda in 2011, and CEO of Tigo Chad from 2008 to 2010. He previously worked at Djezzy from 2005 to 2008, as Head of Marketing (for the Corporate and Business Segment), and Head of Products and Services Marketing. Earlier in his telcom career, he worked for Mobilkom Austria and Vodafone Slovenia.

He is a graduate of the Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria, and the Université Louis Pasteur Strasbourg, France. He is a French and Arabic speaker.