March 2019, Venue TBC



Kumar Prasoon
Group CIO

Kumar Prasoon is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for a prominent retail chain and honored as one of the Global Topmost CIOs in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), Asia and also at the international level. In this prominent role, he makes technology recommendations for the group’s executive management on the aspects of Fuzzy Analytics, Business Intelligence; BigData, IoT /IIoT, BlockChain, cloud computing, enterprise 2.0, integrated systems architecture and virtualization.

Kumar Prasoon is an ICT Industry Process Centric seasoned Enterprise Architect and Business Process Management Expert. Kumar Prasoon excels at leading cross-functional teams across Americas , Europe and Asia ; coordinating multiple projects with exceptionally strong understanding of the business issues driving software development based on experience both as a seasoned Enterprise Architect as well as Interface Manager with solid approaches towards Integration Technologies / Service Oriented Architecture using external interfaces concerning Systems Integration / Systems Architecture / System Infrastructure support for Mission Critical Applications and a prominent International Speaker on many conferences like Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) , Computer News Middle East , Innovation Enterprise (USA) , International Retail Summits , Forrester Research , Nielsen , International Data Corp (IDC), Arabian Computer News (ITP Publishing), CAXTON GROUP(USA) , SmartData , Expo Trade and Real Time Communications (RT-COM) by Fleming Gulf to name a few.

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Abid Butt

I am a Senior Operation & Management Professional, with MBA qualification, having 25 years of rich and extensive experience, including over 8 years of International (US & Kuwait) tenure. Managed and transformed Technology units of multiple sectors including Telecom, Finance, Healthcare, Academic, and FMCG in utilizing technology as a competitive advantage. Last assignment as Chief Information Officer for a Pan-Arabian organization with a footprint in 8+ Gulf Countries based in Kuwait.

During my tenure took Strategic initiatives in developing Road maps, Implementing Simplification, and produce Operating excellence. The Digital and Social strategy had brought synergies and innovation in unifying the diverse regional cultures. Organized and guided Cross Cultural teams across the Gulf region in implementing Change Management process.

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Karthikeyan Gunasekar
Solutions Architect

Karthikeyan Gunasekar is the Consulting Systems Expert for Verticals & Solutions, EMEA at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company. He holds an MBA in Information Technology Management from MK University-India and has been active in the area of IT for over 15 years. Mr. Gunasekar worked with some of the biggest service providers, including Reliance Communication, during the evolution of MPLS in 2002. He is currently involved with articulating SD-Branch Solutions for the education and healthcare verticals in EMEA.

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Rajat Arora
Lead, Global IT - Converged Infrastructure Services

Rajat serves Diebold Nixdorf as the Global Lead for Converged Infrastructure Services. A seasoned IT leader with 14+ years of rich and diverse experience in Global IT Infrastructure Delivery, Network Consulting & Architecture, Bringing Digital transformation to enterprises, and maintaining highly complex Networks at the world's most preferred companies including Microsoft, Telstra (Australia) and Cisco. 

An MBA from IMT, Ghaziabad in International Business, Certified as CCIE#21679 (R&S/DC), TOGAF, Prince 2 Practitioner and ITILv3. He has contributed in varied roles ranging from Global Network Lead, Pre-sales Lead, Technology Domain Expert to Leading Network Engineering Service Operations. In his current role, he is managing and Leading global teams comprising IT Network and Server Architects/SMEs spread across equidistant Geographies, running Network Operations and Managed Services Business for Diebold Nixdorf.


Mohammad Al-Debsi
Network Communication Manager

Mohammad Al-Debsi is Bloomberg's Network Communication Manager for the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.

As an experienced specialist in this field and with over 15 years in the Industry he oversees and designs the WAN connectivity to Europe; he also sets up NNI’s for new markets and territories. Mohammad keeps in close contact with the core sales teams and their clients, helping him in conducting market research to explore new means of connectivity.

Before this, he was working for the government at Dubai International Financial Centre, where he looked after the Infrastructure operations and designing the campus network.

Mohammad also loves fishing a lot!

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Mahesh Jaishankar
Vice President International Connectivity and Infrastructure

Mahesh Jaishankar is the Vice President - International Connectivity and Infrastructure at du, the integrated telecom service provider in the UAE, where he leads the development of du’s global Infrastructure which includes investments in Submarine Cables and datacenters worldwide. He was also instrumental and lead the development of datamena - the carrier neutral ICT hub in UAE.

Mahesh has over 20 years of experience in the Telecom & IT industry in the Middle East and India, where he has successfully led the Strategy, Business development, sales & marketing and product management of a wide range of telecom products and services. 

Mahesh holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electronics and Communications and an MBA in Information Technology from University of Leicester.


Sivakumar Venkatraman

Sivakumar Venkatraman is the CIO of Dubai First, a subsidiary of FAB, and he brings in over 2 decades of IT experience in BFSI sector.  Prior to taking on this role, he was the CTO at MetLife India, responsible for South East Asia.  In his tenure of over 8 years in MetLife, he was involved in various technology transformation initiatives including the ones with two largest banks in India and Malaysia. Before joining MetLife, Sivakumar served as Head of IT in Aviva Life insurance and a 3 year stint with Bloomberg heading their IT Operations for South East Asia region.  Sivakumar has a rare distinction of serving in  Army  as commissioned officer for over 6 years before moving to the corporate world in 1995.

At Dubai First, Sivakumar, in addition to his current role, is also responsible for digital strategy and its implementation.  He is actively focused on bridging the gap between business and digitalization opportunities that IT can enable across all dimensions.  He has currently embarked on the digital journey covering customer touch points and innovating areas to enhance customer efficiency & experience and creating business opportunities through digital channels. 

Sivakumar’s focus on digital & technology transformation of the company led him to create Digital Solutions for their customers in payment space while ramping up investment in Technology platforms and Analytics.   

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Joseph Nettikaden

Dr. Nettikaden is responsible for setting the technology vision and strategy for Esol Education. He oversees the integration of technology into Esol's schools' curricula, with a strong focus on the administration, operations and implementation of technology programs. As part of his mandate, Dr. Nettikaden also explores new, innovative technologies to enhance teaching and learning at all Esol Education schools. He oversees the technology departments at all of Esol's schools, which strive to provide an exceptional user experience to students and teachers, by taking advantage of organizational synergies and the standardization of operational processes.

Prior to joining Esol Education, Dr. Nettikaden was Vice President for Information for a market research company focusing on qualitative research. He was instrumental in providing a common technology services platform and integrated services model for standardizing technology operations at Fieldwork Inc. Prior to this, he has played key roles at leading software companies (Infor and CA), in the implementation of customer relationship management software and web-based technologies.

His educational qualifications include a Doctor of Education from Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California, MBA from Northern Illinois University and MS in Information Technology from Northwestern University. Apart from spending time with his family, he is passionate about new technologies and understanding the impact of these technologies on the daily lives of people.


Jawad Abbassi
Head of MENA

Jawad’s career experience in ICT and Media spans 21 years. Before joining the GSMA as head of MENA in October 2015, he managed the Arab Advisors Group which he founded in 2001. Jawad’s previous career experience includes working as a senior telecommunications and technology consultant with the Yankee Group in Boston, USA. Between 1998 and 2000, he was a Senior Analyst with the communications research arm of the Economist Intelligence Unit in Boston. In March 2013, Jawad acted as Chairman of Jordan’s information technology association. He is also a Member of the Arab Business Forum for Information and Communication Technology ABFICT, and a Member of the steering committee for the UN ICT Task Force of the “Wireless Internet and the Arab-World” series. Jawad holds an MSc in Information Systems from the London School of Economics, and a BSc in engineering from the American University in Cairo, Egypt (1993). In 2010, he attended Harvard Business School Executive Education.

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Alex Holvoet
SVP Program Office

Alex Holvoet, SVP Program Office, has more than 20 years of experience in the telecom sector.  A native of Belgium, Holvoet began his telecom career at Belgian Telecom incumbent Belgacom.  From 2002 to 2010, he held a number of senior positions in business planning, marketing and product management at T-Mobile/Deutsche Telekom, one of the world’s leading telecom operators.  Having also worked as CEO of Digicel in Suriname, Alex knows first-hand the opportunities LeoSat can now bring for existing and emerging telecom operators in search of growth. LeoSat’s unique constellation network brings opportunities for Telco’s that they never had before.  Alex holds a Master’s degree in Electrotechnical Engineering from Ghent University in Belgium as well as a Diploma in Leadership from the The Wharton School.     

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Kevin Vachon

As MEF COO since 2006, Kevin leads a team that builds, supports and scales the MEF’s ever-increasing mix of global programs activities.  During Kevin’s tenure, membership has tripled to over 210 companies, representing 43 countries, service provider membership has increased ten fold and MEF certification programs have become globally adopted and widely recognized.

Kevin is a frequent speaker at conferences, a senior MEF representative to the press and analyst community and oversees MEF relationships with open source projects and standards organizations. Kevin is also the founder and Executive Director of MEF’s annual flagship industry conference, entitled MEF18.

Prior to joining MEF, Kevin held the position of CEO of DIATEM Networks Inc., a Carrier Ethernet software company from 2003 to 2005 and was President and CEO of NUVO Network Management, a network management outsourcing firm, from 1996 to 2002. Previously, he held other senior management positions with NUVO and spent 10 years in a wide variety of capacities with Gandalf Technologies, a network equipment manufacturer.

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Omid Mahboubi

Omid is a community builder, a visionary entrepreneur & a cloud evangelist. He focuses on disruptive technologies & is considered a subject-matter expert whose opinion on digital transformation is frequently sought by major stakeholders in the industry. Omid is also a recognized international speaker contributing to many IT forums in diverse geographies. He has founded the MENA Cloud Alliance – an industry body focused on growing the cloud market in the Middle East & North Africa & serves as cloud/big data consultant for a number of technology companies.

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Ajay Rathi
Senior Director, IT

Ajay Rathi, is currently Sr. Director at Information Technology department of Meraas Holding. Meraas is pioneering several initiatives in various macroeconomic sectors including tourism, leisure, real estate, hospitality, healthcare and asset management. He leads a team which is responsible for building and maintaining a highly available, scalable and centralized IT infrastructure and build applications to meet the growing requirement of the organization across multiple verticals. With huge expansion in retail, theme parks and hospitality at Meraas, big Data, Internet of the things, Cloud computing, Business intelligence and Blockchain are the areas he is working on.

Before joining Meraas Holding, he was Head of IT infrastructure at DAMAC Holding and have also worked for 14 years in various positions at Indian Oil Corporation, which is one of the fortune 500 oil company.

Ajay Rathi has Master of Engineer and Bachelor of Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), India. He has broad experience and understanding in various aspects of Business Processes, ERP, Healthcare and hospitality, Business Intelligence, project management, Data center architecture, Disaster Recovery, BCP and ITIL Processes.

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Mahmoud Yassin
VP, Data Center Management, Group Information Technology

Mahmoud Yassin is manager of the Group Data Center Manager  for System & Security also responsible for Operation Assurance.

Amongst his professional networking groups are the (ISC)² UAE Chapter and he holds the seat of Chapter President elected and hired by ISC2 board members. Mahmoud initiated the chapter in UAE membership of the ISACA COBIT 5 review member group and he has had articles published with InfoSec Island; a reputable group for information security community. Mahmoud has also had many articles published in ISACA like mobile Security, BYOD hacking 9 magazine.

He has contributed to several Information Security related events in the UAE and he is member of various security groups such as the UAE AAA, ISACA, (ISC)² and the Identity Management Institute just to name a few. Mahmoud has 16 years of experience in the Infrastructure Field, having worked over 10 years as Infrastructure Security Architect for multinational organizations such as Microsoft and Fujitsu.

Mahmoud owns a BSE from the University of Cairo and a Master’s degree in Information Security from the University of Fairfax. During his extensive career Mahmoud has obtained professional certificates such as , C| CISO ,CISSP, CISA, CRISC, PMP, COBIT, ITIL, MCSE.

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Catherine Lucas

Engineer graduate of Telecom ParisTech, Catherine has more than 25 years of experience in the field of infrastructures, networks and telecommunications.

Catherine has occupied various positions in large international firms, including within the Daimler Benz group in the IT function, the France Télécom group in the Large Accounts Division or the Elf Aquitaine group where she took the responsibility of the Networks and Telecommunications field at group level. 

She quickly realized that large companies had a strong need for specialized and independent IT consulting and naturally founded Navigacom end of 1998. She has practiced her job as a CEO passionately ever since. 

Within Navigacom, Catherine shares her time between the development of new fields of expertise and offers, the organization of the customer community and the management of the projects on the ground.   


Johan Witters
IP Regional PLM for evolution of Business Services to SDN and NFV

Johan started in the research division of Alcatel. Since then he held several positions with an end-to-end solution-focus. He also worked as a business consultant in the IP division, being responsible for IP & Ethernet business data services and cloud services. Currently, he is responsible for business development for Nokia/Nuage’s SD-WAN solution as well as for the evolution of business services including SDN and NFV.

He holds a PhD in Physics from the University of Antwerp, Belgium as well as several telecom patents. He has been a speaker at numerous conferences and is active as MEF EMEA marketing co-chair.

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Srinivas Rao
Senior Manager, IT Infrastructure

Proactive, adaptable & conscientious professional with over 17 years’ international experience in the IT Industry across multiple
streams of business verticals ranging from Manufacturing to Trading, Logistics & Shipping, Printing, retail and Services Industry.

Ability to energize, lead & deal with the speed of change while accepting challenges through a tenacious & questioning approach
drawing on wide-ranging technical expertise. Design business focused IT Strategies to maximize opportunities, interconnect
information management to deliver value based program with commitment to achieve enterprise goals.

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Andrew Grenville
Chief Executive Officer

With over 25 years’ experience across Europe, Asia and the Middle East in telecoms and tech industries, Andrew has a successful track record of holding senior leadership roles at Racal, British Telecom, StarHub and du (EITC). He has been involved in starting up 6 businesses, including 3 as the CEO/Leader. Out of work he enjoys spending time with his family, singing in Dubai Chamber Choir and keeping fit, particularly road running and other physical challenges, most recently successfully taking on Mt. Kilimanjaro.


Mubarik Hussain
Head of IT

As Head of IT for Petroserv Limited I am responsible for all aspects of the IT Infrastructure, telecoms and hosted services for Petroserv Limited and Petroserv Group Companies. I have led large scale corporate business and IT transformation programmes and projects which have enhanced and modernised all aspects of our corporate environment. 

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Mohammad Shahzad
Chief Information Officer

Mohammad Shahzad is the CIO of RDK Group. Shahzad is a Technology/Business Process Management leader with extensive experience in ERP, Enterprise IT Strategic Planning, IT Operations, Business Transformation & Process Automation, Business Intelligence, IoT, Cloud Computing across a variety of industries including Real Estate, Construction, Hospitality, Government Services, Financial, Commercial Investments etc.  

He is responsible for IT & Digital Strategy in alignment with corporate strategic objectives which includes ERP Systems and various other systems for very diversified business verticals including real estate development, tourism and hospitality, construction, civil and architectural engineering, and number of exclusive distribution agencies and Joint Ventures with internationally recognized multi-disciplinary companies.

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Dr. Dhrupad Mathur
Associate Professor IT

Dr. Dhrupad Mathur works as Associate Professor in IT Management Area with S P Jain School of Global Management, Dubai UAE since 2008. Within this tenure he served as the Director of Industry Projects from year 2008 to 2016 and as Assistant Dean of the Executive MBA program thereafter.

With over 16 years of professional experience in ICT education, policy and consulting, Dr. Mathur is a Science graduate with MBA and a master's degree in Public Administration. His Doctorate degree is in the area of e-Business Transformations, from JNVU India (Ph.D, 2004).

He has been a United Nations Fellow for the Working Group on Internet Governance (UNO Geneva, 2005)and has also served in the Strategy Council of the UN GAID (Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development, NY, 2009–11). He was recognized as ‘Emerging Leaders of the Digital World’ by Diplo Foundation Geneva (2007). He has worked on e-Government policy for the Govt. of India in the capacity of Senior Consultant for the National e-Governance Plan, at the Ministry of Communications & IT, Govt. of India, New Delhi. At SP Jain, his specialist subjects include: E-Business, E-Government and Emerging technologies.

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Raju Ved
Former Regional Manager Network Operations

Raju Ved , senior networking professional with more than 25 years experience in middle east.

Previous experience : Regional manager , computer network operations for Standard Chartered Bank in Dubai.

Senior network engineer at Dubai office of CASE COMMUNICATIONS (UK)

Education : Bachelor of Engineering from University of Mumbai

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Hussein Al-Najrani
Director, Global Data Sales, Wholesale BU

Hussein is a Telecom professional in the Technology/Business in STC with extensive experience in telecom wholesale, Enterprise, Technology planning, Business Transformation, IoT, Cloud Computing across a variety of industries including research and education R&E,  Government Services, Financial, etc. 

He is responsible for Global Data Sales in STC with corporate strategic objectives which includes Datacenter/cloud Strategy and various other very diversified business verticals including Joint Ventures with internationally recognized multi-disciplinary companies.

prior to this role he has been director of international services implementation in STC responsible for voice and data service implementation across the globe. The responsibilities includes sourcing a managing international network assets for STC’s international services.

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Erik Kreifeldt
Principal Analyst

Principal Analyst Erik Kreifeldt tracks the global market for enterprise and wholesale network services. He manages product development and forecasting for TeleGeography’s pricing research and co-chairs the WAN Summit conference series. Before joining TeleGeography in 2006, Erik was an optical networking industry analyst with RHK, following editorial roles at Fiber Optics OnlineFiber Optics News, and the Optical Society of America—where he covered the first commercial DWDM systems. He holds an MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and a B.A. from Penn State.



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Ahmad Manzur
Specialist Transport Network Operations, Network Development

Over 10 years of experience in Transport networks with a diverse experience in MPLS, Fiber Optics, Microwave, Network operations center, Quality assurance & Network Performance Management. I had been Associated with Leading telecom players in the market like Orascom, Mobilink, and Currently in Vimplecom Group as Expert Consultant of Transport Network Development.

Major projects in delivering turnkey network rollout for Vimplecom. Recently modernized MPLS-TP Network for Vimplecom. Have a great passion to transform customer needs into workable solutions. Proficient in devising business process frameworks.

I also work as a professional trainer and engaged in different projects voluntary. My area of study include Bachelors in Electrical engineering & M-Phil in Total Quality Management. I am also Cisco certified & ITU sector member “


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Sanjay Nahar
Senior Product Manager, Vodafone Global Enterprise
Connectivity Portfolio

Sanjay has been working as a senior product manager for Vodafone Global Enterprise Connectivity Services over the past  three years, focussed on making technology relevant for our customers.

He’s had 25+ years’ experience in Global communications technology, an area he is dedicated to with a passion for his customers and the people he works with.

Sanjay has worked with several providers in the industry having held Senior Product Management and Solution Consultancy positions at NTT Europe and Energis, with experience that spans from one of the first UK National Frame relay networks to global connectivity solutions for an international space agency.


If you are interested in speaking opportunities, please contact:

Claire Tranah, Conference Producer
Tel. +44 (0) 7747 012 119