At Virgin Mobile, our people are our greatest asset. Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa is led by a team of telecom gurus with over 100 years of combined experience in the industry.
Erik Dudman Nielsen
Founder & Group Chief Executive OfficerErik founded Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa together with Mikkel Vinter in...
Chief Technical OfficerSalvatore joined the Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa team in 2019 leading...
Chief Legal OfficerStephen Lodge is the Group Chief Legal Officer for Virgin Mobile Middle East and...
Chief Financial OfficerGabor joined the Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa Team in 2015 and leads the...
Group VP PeopleZineb Filali is the Group VP People for Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa. Prior...
Yaarob Al Sayegh
Chief Executive Officer – Saudi ArabiaYaarob has been appointed as CEO for Virgin Mobile Saudi Arabia in June 2020. With...
Salma Al Maawali
Chief Executive Officer - OmanSalma Al Maawali was appointed as Chief Executive Officer for FRiENDi Oman in 2018,...
Chief Executive Officer – KuwaitBenoit joined Virgin Mobile MEA in May 2020 as the CEO of Kuwait operation that will...
Managing Director - United Arab EmiratesRob joined Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa in 2011, and is currently the...
Chief Executive Officer – Eris TelecomTariq joined us in 2013 as CEO of Eris Telecom and has successfully established it...
Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa Group
Operating Market CEO's
Erik Dudman Nielsen
Founder & Group Chief Executive Officer
Erik founded Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa together with Mikkel Vinter in 2006 and he has more than 20 years of experience in mobile telecoms in both MNO and MVNO. Erik has a proven track record of building successful MVNOs in the world including in Saudi Arabia starting from the acquisition of the initial license and subsequently holding the position as chairman in the operational entity since inception. Erik is dedicated to ensuring that Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa maintains its position as the leading MVNO/MVNE player in the region with particular focus on the Middle East.
For the first five years, he held the position of Chief Financial Officer being was responsible for all financial activities, including local and global debt and equity fundraising. From 2011 until the middle of 2018 he worked as Chief Business Development Officer focussing on developing new business opportunities and nurturing the relationship with our JV partners across the region.
During his career, Erik has held many senior positions across several different countries in Europe, working with both frequency-based and MVNO-based greenfield mobile companies and traditional telecom companies offering both fixed and mobile services.
Prior to Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa, Erik was Chief Executive Officer of Realtime, a global VAS provider, where he successfully managed a turnaround of the business and developed a strong growth strategy for the company in Europe, South America and the Middle East. Between 2000 and 2003, Erik was the Chief Financial Officer of a telco corporate venture fund.
Erik graduated from the University of Aarhus with a Masters degree in Economics and Business Administration in 1994.
Married and living in Dubai with 3 children, Erik is an enthusiastic runner and enjoys spending time with his family and visiting new places in the region.
Chief Technical Officer
Salvatore joined the Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa team in 2019 leading technology strategy, architecture and operations across the region.
Salvatore has over 20 years of experience in the field of Telecommunications and ITC working for the Major Italian and International Telco Company (Brazil, Peru, Spain, and Greece).
As CTO, he was responsible for the design and the development of a full MVNO Architecture. Moreover, he led the MVNE platform for an Italian MVNO company supporting retail and wholesale business model as well as IOT and Fixed Wireless Access Broadband.
Salvatore succeeded in important operations start-up in the field of Mobile VAS platform (Turkey, France) and services for International Mobile Operators branches of Telecom Italia.
Salvatore graduated from the University of Pisa in Italy with a Master’s degree in computer science.
Salvatore is married and has two children. He enjoys traveling and seeing new places even if he loves to rest in his Sicily.
Chief Legal Officer
Stephen Lodge is the Group Chief Legal Officer for Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa.Stephen has worked in the mobile telecoms industry since 2000, and in leadership roles at various MVNOs since 2006.
Stephen joined Virgin Mobile UK on its launch as the world’s first MVNO – including three years as legal and regulatory head and management team member – through its listing as a FTSE 250 company on the London Stock Exchange and eventual acquisition and integration into Virgin Media. Stephen also led the legal and regulatory team at another international MVNO and was instrumental in launching 20 MVNOs worldwide over a six year period.
Stephen originally worked as a corporate lawyer at two City of London law firms, gaining substantial listed company transactional and governance experience. He is a qualified lawyer in England and Hong Kong and has spoken at high profile legal and industry events in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Stephen holds a Master’s Degree from Cambridge University and an MBA (Distinction) from Bath University’s School of Management.
Out of work, Stephen enjoys family time, sport, food and getting outdoors into the mountains.
Chief Financial Officer
Gabor joined the Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa Team in 2015 and leads the Finance function across the whole group.
Gabor has over 25 years’ experience in senior positons in the global mobile telecommunications industry and has been responsible for leading top performing teams of over 300 people.
Leading the strategic and financial planning across all Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa operating market, Gabor has responsibility for growth management, budgeting, forecasting and financial reporting.
Prior to joining Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa, Gabor was Chief Financial Officer at Wataniya Telecom Algeria. Gabor has also held senior positions at major telecommunications companies such as, BTC Mobile EOOD, Celtel Tanzania and Vivendi Telecom Hungary.
Gabor graduated from the University of New South Wales, Australia with a Bachelor of Commerce (BComm – Accounting, Finance & Systems) and is an Australian CPA.
Gabor is married and currently lives in Dubai with his family. He is a keen linguist and currently speaks English, French and Hungarian.
Group VP People
Zineb Filali is the Group VP People for Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa.
Prior to moving to Dubai with her family, Zineb started her career as Production Leader in Decathlon Morocco then she joined Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa in 2008 to lead the People team across the Group.
Zineb manages the VMMEA People Strategy and all aspects of the People life cycle, ensuring that culture and engagement, amongst other people driven initiatives, are defining Virgin Mobile as the Employer of Choice within the region.
Additionally, Zineb supervises and provides consultation to management on strategic people plans, compensation, benefits, learning and development, budget, and people relations.
Zineb holds a Master degree in Strategic Human Resources Management from the Middlesex University in Dubai.
Zineb lives in Dubai with her husband and their two boys. She loves traveling and reading. Her dream is to experience the Skydiving.
Yaarob Al Sayegh
Chief Executive Officer – Saudi Arabia
Yaarob has been appointed as CEO for Virgin Mobile Saudi Arabia in June 2020. With more than 22 years of experience in the Saudi telecommunications sector, Yaarob will guide the delivery of Virgin Mobile’s digital transformation strategy in support of Saudi Vision 2030.
Before joining Virgin Mobile Saudi Arabia, Yaarob was Executive General Manager of Digital at Mobily, following almost five years as Executive General Manager of the Saudi telecommunication company’s Fibre-to-the-Home Unit. Here, he guided the development and launch of new services under each unit, managed and forged new strategic relationships with major blue-chip partners, and oversaw Mobily’s device portfolio. Prior to this, Yaarob held senior executive positions at Intigral and Saudi Telecom Company (STC).
Yaarob holds a Master of Business Administration in Marketing and Finance. He also holds Bachelors of Electrical engineering in Telecommunications. He further attended various executive education courses in Insead and Columbia Business Schools.
Salma Al Maawali
Chief Executive Officer - Oman
Salma Al Maawali was appointed as Chief Executive Officer for FRiENDi Oman in 2018, and she brings to the role eleven years of telecom experience, six of which were spent with Nawras, Oman. In Nawras, Salma was head of planning and budgeting carrying out business planning for the marketing team. Prior to that Salma was head of management accounting in Nawras. In this role in addition to handling the company budget and reporting, she was the focal point of key projects including cost efficiency programs and benchmarking exercises. Before being appointed as Chief Executive Officer for FRiENDi Oman, Salma served as Finance Director for five years. Salma holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, University of South Carolina, Columbia and Master of Accountancy, University of Nevada, Reno. Salma is also a certified public accountant (CPA)”.
Chief Executive Officer – Kuwait
Benoit joined Virgin Mobile MEA in May 2020 as the CEO of Kuwait operation that will be launched in the coming months.
He has over 20 years of experience within Telecom MNOs in different countries and continents.
After 10 years in Orange group, Benoit joined Veon as the CCO in Cambodia. He then became the successful CEO of Millicom in Chad first and then in Tanzania. His last job prior to joining Virgin Mobile was at Airtel as the CEO in Congo.
Benoit graduated from the ICN business school in France with a Master degree in General Management and Entrepreneurship. He has also completed programs in Stanford and INSEAD business schools.
Benoit will be based in Kuwait city with his family. He enjoys skiing in the French Alpes and traveling all over the world.
Managing Director - United Arab Emirates
Rob joined Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa in 2011, and is currently the Managing Director of Virgin Mobile in the UAE. He brings a wealth of experience in commercial brand development, digital transformation, multi-channel digital, customer experience care and retail and marketing strategies. Rob is a senior member of the management team and has been instrumental in launching the Virgin Mobile brand in the region, firstly in KSA and more recently with the benchmark digital launch of Virgin Mobile in the UAE.
Rob is tasked with leading the Virgin Mobile UAE team to grow the business unit further, continuing to drive our regional digital customer experience for the benefit of the UAE and the group.
Virgin Mobile in the UAE is a wholly owned business unit of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company PJSC (EITC).
Prior to joining Virgin Mobile, Rob gained a vast knowledge of all aspects of commercial management through various roles in London, before specializing in mobile telecommunications as Lycamobile Group Marketing Director, where he launched the brand in over 11 markets over a six-year period.
He has managed marketing operations in 17 global markets including the UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Australia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Oman, the UAE and Jordan.
Chief Executive Officer – Eris Telecom
Tariq joined us in 2013 as CEO of Eris Telecom and has successfully established it as a standalone international voice business unit of the group. Eris provides international traffic termination services to the group’s retail operations. Eris, within short span of time, has established strategic business relations with over 75 carriers and positioned itself as a strong carrier of choice for the Middle East, Asia and Africa regions.
Tariq is a highly energetic and dynamic professional with extensive experience in Telecom products, sales and business development, with special focus on international voice (retail & wholesale) and data center services. With proven track record of business growth for the companies like Warid, Telenor and a UK based MVNO, Tariq brings a wealth of telecom knowledge and expertise which complement our international calling offerings within the countries we operate in. Tariq is well-respected in the carrier industry and enjoys excellent rapport with large telecom companies all over.
Tariq is a graduate of Electronics Engineering from Pakistan’s top engineering school, Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences & Technology.
Tariq enjoys living in Dubai with his wife and 3 years old daughter. His great passion for nature and outdoors took him to camp at almost all possible locations across UAE last year. He is already eyeing some new locations in Oman for next season’s camping. He plays indoor cricket when he is not working or camping.