Mr Adil Youssefi, who is the immediate former MD Airtel Kenya has been appointed as the new CEO of Liquid Telecom Kenya after three years at the helm of Kenya’s second largest telco.
He succeeds Mr Ben Roberts, who will become board Chairman of Liquid Telecom Kenya and concentrate on his role as the Chief Technology Officer for Liquid Telecom Group, a position he has held since 2006.
Prior to that, Youssefi worked for Millicom Group a mobile operator with operations in several African countries in various capacities across its subsidiaries. He started as a Senior Advisor to the Chief Officer Asia in Sri Lanka in 2008, then moved to Chad to take up the Chief Executive position and finally served as the Chief Executive of Millicom Ghana in 2012.
Youssefi was known for picking public battles with Safaricom urging regulator CA to regulate it for its monopoly and allegedly unfair competitive practices among others and at one time threatened Airtel would shut down and leave the market due to that. Some of his complaints were right but his hands at Airtel Kenya were tied as the entire group has to report to Bharti Airtel in India. His biggest failure was the laxity to market Airtel Money to everyone’s noses to take on expensive M-Pesa.
As the new Liquid Telecom Kenya CEO, he will be in charge of both retail and wholesale broadband expansion and especially the group’s Hai brand which will see him face off another dominant player Zuku, a fibre to the home product operated by Wananchi Group. Liquid Telecom Kenya acquired the then Kenya Data Networks in 2013 and has laid 5,000km of fibre network across Kenya, with 800km laid in 2016. It has connected 41 of the 47 counties to high speed Internet, and rolled out successive rounds of new technology. At Airtel, Youssefi saw the connection of various institutions to its broadband services, an experience needed at his new job.
Mr Youssefi has over 15 years’ experience in senior management across Africa, Asia and Europe, with expertise in developing markets, leadership, and telecommunications, He contributed to double digit growth in the companies he led in Kenya, Ghana and Chad.
Liquid Telecom Group has grown rapidly in recent years, building an extensive fibre network spanning 11 countries across Eastern, Central and Southern Africa. This network has grown from 13,000km in 2013 to 40,000km by 2017.
The expansion of Liquid Telecom including the group’s recent acquisition of Raha in Tanzania and Neotel in South Africa, has also prompted the group to appoint Willie Fryer as Chief Finance Officer, covering East Africa. This position was held previously by Mr Raj Jandu who has moved to South Africa to take the role of Chief Finance Officer at Neotel.