Meet Adrian Wood, Former MTN CEO who made a $500m bid for 9Mobile and won

Teleology holdings Limited, led by Adrian Wood on Wednesday emerged the preferred bidder for  Nigeria’s fourth largest mobile network operator. This was announced in an official letter written by the financial adviser handling the sale of 9mobile, Barclays Africa. The company with an investment of $11 billion came top out of the five shortlisted investors. In the last round of the bid, the company was the preferred bidder after offering $500million for the company as against Smile Telecommunications which offered $300million.

The former CEO of MTN’s company is seen as the company that has what it takes to drive and brings back troubled 9mobile. This is due to his track record and management background during his tenure as the CEO of MTN Nigeria.

Adrian Wood is an economist with degrees from Cambridge and Harvard Universities. He was a Fellow of King’s College and a lecturer in the Faculty of Economics Cambridge. He was a senior economist at the World Bank in Washington DC. He also worked on the 1980 World Development Report. He later became a Professorial Fellow of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, and also became the Chief Economist of the UK’s Department for International Development. He later got an appointment into MTN Nigeria where he worked as the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria. He was the Founder & Non-executive Director of Hi Tv,  He held a top position in Brymedia West Africa Limited with the recent being Teleology Holdings Limited. He is a director at Sliide Media Nigeria Limited

Adrian Wood was the second CEO of MTN Nigeria. He managed the company from 2001 to 2004, after the first CEO, Mr. Karel Piennar.

Wood who came into Nigeria because of his job at MTN has refused to leave the Nigerian business environment. He has remained since 2004 when he left MTN. The Australian believes so much in the Nigerian economy and he is seen as one of the key people with vast interest and knowledge about the Nigeria telecommunication industry.

Photo Credit: Plus44 Holdings Limited

In 2014 Adrian through a company where he holds top position, Brymedia West Africa Limited was among the bidders for Nigeria’s National telecommunication company Nitel. However, Tunde Ayeni emerged the preferred bidder and the company is currently operating as NTEL. After losing the bid for Nitel, Adrian has not given up on his desire to continue to invest in Nigeria. He was among the first people to bid for 9mobile. In order to achieve this feat of acquiring 9mobile, he set up Teleology Holdings Limited. Teleology, Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) was formed by Adrian, some wealthy Nigerians, foreign stakeholders in collaboration with Ericsson.

A lot of Nigerians are hopeful that 9mobile would benefit from Adrian’s experience and unusual love for Nigeria. Currently, Teleology chairman has been proclaimed to be one of the few expatriates that came to Nigeria and passionately loves the country and its delicacies. Little wonder the Australian born’s relationship with Nigeria’s telecommunications industry is seen as that of eternal wedlock that no one can put asunder.

According to reports 9mobile staff who have been scared of losing their jobs if any of the other bidders had succeeded are overwhelmed with Joy.

“This news is like a double whopper burger for us. I can tell you there is an air of jubilation amongst the staff of 9mobile now. We did not want any of the existing operators to acquire 9mobile as they would end up sacking people and throwing people into the unemployment market under the guise of right-sizing the business,” A staff of 9mobile who spoke on condition of anonymity told Thisday.

Meet the Board members of Teleology according to Thisday

The Group CEO of Teleology is Sven-Axel Brudnicki, with over 20 years’ experience as telecom executive with international leadership across two continents.

The first Nigerian CEO of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Michael Ikpoki, is the legal and regulatory, sales and distribution director of Teleology, while the former Chief Technical Officer of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Demola Elesho, is the Chief Technical Officer of Teleology.Elesho is a specialist in network re-engineering and large-scale deployments and has worked for Multi-Links Telecom, MTS, Vodafone Spain, MTN, Airtouch USA, BT, and Cellnet.

The Chief Financial Officer is Mr. Kemal Shefik, who has over 30 years’ experience in finance and strategy executive with extensive international experience on three continents.

Paul Crosa is in charge of sales, marketing, MFS, commercial strategy, with over 20 years’ experience as a commercial executive with international background across Africa and Latin America.

Richard Noren is the procurement, supply chain, systems manager with over 20 years’ experience in procurement, logistics and supply chain executive with international management roles across three continents.

Mr. Rodney Wayne is the finance, internal auditor, and Terry Moorhead is the chief network architect with over 40 years’ experience, while Mr. Robert Gerrity is the Enterprise, B2B, and Multimedia Solutions Manager.