Smile Telecoms
Irene Charnley, founder of Smile Telecoms. Image source: Twitter

Smile Telecoms Holdings founder Irene Charnley has retired with effect from 1 January 2021, the Pan-African telecommunications group said on Monday.

Hailed as one of Africa’s most successful business leaders, Charnley has led Smile Telecom’s innovation and pioneering of Africa’s first 4G LTE network infrastructure.

Charnley has retired as deputy chairman from the Smile Telecoms board.

The company also the retirement of Smile Telecoms co-founder Mohammed Wajih Sharbatly from its board and all boards of the operating companies, effective 1 January 1 2021.

Sharbatly has acted as co-chairman of the group through December 2020.

“Today we say farewell to our Founder and Deputy Chairman, Ms. Irene Charnley. We wish her all success in her new endeavors,” Ibrahim H. Sharbatly, chairman of the group said.

“We also want to say farewell to our Co-Founder and Co-Chairman Mr. Mohammad Wajih H. Sharbatly.”

The Pan-African telecommunications group has operations in Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The company also announced that its board approved the Head Office and Centre of Main Interest (COMI) of Smile Telecoms to shift from Mauritius to England and Wales.

Smile Telecom also announced the appointment of new board members:

Osman Sultan has been appointed as vice chairman of the group. Sultan, the founding CEO of EITC (du) in the UAE, was at its helm from 2006 until the end of 2019. Before that, he was the founding CEO of Mobinil in Egypt (now Orange Egypt) from 1998 until the end of 2005. Mr. Sultan sits on several ICT Companies and Academic Boards. He has been actively involved with Smile as the Chairman of the Restructuring and Transformation Committee of the Group since July 2020.

Albert Momdjian has been appointed as board member of the group and chairman of the group’s uudit committee. Momdjian is a former corporate and investment banker with 27 years of corporate Investment banking and restructuring experience primarily in Media and Telecoms across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, having been involved in over $100 billion worth of M&A, capital markets and restructuring transactions.

Caroline Chang, recently appointed as a board member of the group in November 2020, has been appointed as a member of the group’s audit committee. 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.

These nominations come in addition to the appointment of Raihan Shaikh-Khaleel as board member of the group in September 2020. Khaleel is a Partner at Swinton Capital and an experienced restructuring advisor across EMEA, sitting on various Boards of companies involved in restructurings. He has 20 years of EMEA and other cross border experience, spending the last 10 years restructuring companies for a leading US hedge fund.


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