Ghada Gebara to leave Djezzy and VimpelCom as Tom Gutjahr takes over as CEO


Ghada Gebara, the CEO of Djezzy and one of the few female telco CEOs in Africa, if not globally, is set to leave Djezzy, Algeria’s market leader and VimpelCom subsidiary at the end of this month. This follows an announcement made by VimpelCom in mid May that Tom Gutjahr, Airtel Uganda’s CEO, would join Djezzy as CEO from July 1.

VimpelCom confirmed Ms Gebara’s departure in an email interview with aptantech.

(TOP: Ghada Gebara, the outgoing Djezzy CEO. Photo: CNN).

“As you mention, Tom Gutjahr will join VimpelCom from 1 July 2016 and will be responsible for leading Djezzy, VimpelCom’s business in Algeria… Ghada Gebara, who had previously led Djezzy, has now left the company,” stated Neil Moorhouse, VimpelCom’s Director of Corporate Media Affairs in response to our queries regarding Ms Gebara’s fate that now that Gutjahr is taking over in a month’s time.

Ghada Gebara joined Djezzy in June 2015 from Korek Telecom, the Iraq-based Orange Group subsidiary, where she’d served as CEO for over 4 years. Prior to Korek Telecom, she’s the CEO at Digicel – handling various markets including Haiti, French Guyana and Honduras – from 2005 to 2010.

VimpleCom announced that Tom Gutjahr would be “responsible for leading Djezzy’s transformation into a digital leader while leveraging the brand’s strong position in the local market.”

Gutjahr is not new to Djezzy having previously worked at the telco from 2005 to 2008, as Head of Marketing, for the Corporate and Business Segment, and Head of Products and Services Marketing.

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.