ntel appoints ex-Etisalat marketing director, Ernest Akinlola, new CEO

ntel CEO Ernest Akinlola

The board of ntel on Tuesday announced the appointment of Ernest Akinlola as its substantive managing director/chief executive officer.

He takes over from Abhulime Ehiagwina who was appointed acting CEO in August following the departure of pioneer chief executive officer, Kamar Abass.

A bio released by the telecoms company indicates that Mr Akinlola is a senior executive with over 20 years extensive experience in telecoms media & technology.

He joined the fledgling One 2 One telecoms operator in the UK and was instrumental in establishing a world-class internal audit and compliance department.

As head of department, he led the assessment and subsequent launch of Virgin Mobile UK on the One 2 One network which proved to be the pioneering MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) at the time.

Following One 2 One’s acquisition by T-Mobile, Akinlola was a key member of the integration team, leading on commercial strategy and growing the wholesale side of the business to launch several MVNO’s focused on specific customer segments.

He was an integral member of the team charged with executing Virgin Mobile’s $1.5bn IPO. Many senior roles followed including leading the transformational roll-out of T-Mobile’s store retail programme.

Having led teams in marketing, sales, finance, strategic planning, business development and operations in blue-chip telecoms companies, Akinlola was headhunted as COO by Lycamobile to lead its European strategy, successfully expanding into 10 countries within two years.

Following this notable success in Europe, he focused on Nigeria’s telecoms sector and was approached to lead a major marketing drive for Etisalat (now 9Mobile), the fourth entrant in a highly competitive telecoms market.

As marketing director, he spearheaded a range of initiatives that took Etisalat from the 4th ranked operator to the 2nd, in terms of ARPU and active customer base.

Immediately prior to joining ntel, Akinlola was a strategic consultant to several blue chip organisations including Blackberry Nigeria, the World  Bank, and most recently provided strategic oversight to Swazi Mobile in formulating a commercial strategic plan for the successful application of a 4G VoLTE, 3G,2G licence in Swaziland, South Africa. This has underpinned the impressive growth of Swazi Mobile in less than 3 months of operations.

Commenting on his new appointment, Akinlola said “I am excited to be appointed MD/CEO of ntel, Nigeria’s pre-eminent 4G/LTE network. ntel has tremendous untapped capabilities which can provide a step change in customer experience for Large Enterprise, SME’s and Consumers. I look forward to leading the team in driving innovation and delighting our current and future customers”

ntel had previously assured its stakeholders that the leadership transition from the previous incumbent would be smooth and orderly in accordance with global best practices.

“We are pleased to report that there has been no adverse impact on the business operations and the company would like to thank Abhulime Ehiagwina (CFO) for holding the fort during the transition period,” the company said in a statement.

Akinlola, a Fellow of The Chartered Certified Accountants, holds an MBA from Manchester Business School with a first degree in Economics from the University of East London (UEL).