Undergraduate Commencement Quest Speaker
Chair, Orascom TMT Investments
Naguib Sawiris has established himself as an influential public figure, both regionally and abroad, through his leadership in a diverse range of business ventures and extensive civic engagement efforts. His business acumen has led to substantial economic development in Egypt, by building a company that became the country’s largest private sector employer.
As the founder of Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH), Sawiris dynamically led the growth of the company. It soon became the region’s leading telecom services provider and among the best regarded emerging market players in the world, culminating in the much-publicized merger deal between Wind Telecom, OTH’s mother company, and VEON (formerly VimpelCom Ltd.) in April 2011. The merger created the world’s sixth largest mobile telecommunications provider, serving 181 million customers and operating in 20 countries, and marked a new milestone in Sawiris’ long and successful career in the telecom business. During his time at Orascom, Sawiris established the company’s railway, information technology and telecommunications sectors.
Sawiris serves on a number of international and regional boards, committees and councils. He is currently the advisory board chair for La Mancha Holding, an international gold mining investor, and chair of Gemini Global Development, a company undertaking high-end real estate developments in prime locations around the world.
He has held key positions on the International Advisory Committee to the New York Stock Exchange Board of Directors, National Bank of Kuwait’s International Advisory Board and London Stock Exchange Group’s Africa Advisory Group, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees of Nile University, Université Française d’Égypte and the Arab Thought Foundation.
Sawiris has also managed several assets in the media business. In September 2015, he managed the acquisition of 53% of Euronews, the most watched news channel in Europe.
In recognition of his efforts, Sawiris has received numerous international honorary degrees, industry awards and civic honors, including the Légion d’honneur from France, the honor of Commander in the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity and the Sitara-e-Quaid-e-Azam award in Pakistan.
Sawiris holds a master’s in technical administration and a diploma in mechanical engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich and a diploma from the German Evangelical School in Egypt.