Naguib Sawiris

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Naguib Sawiris
Naguib Sawiris, 2009
Born (1954-06-15) 15 June 1954 (age 59)
Nationality Egyptian
Net worth $2.5 billion (US$)
Political party
Free Egyptians Party
Religion Coptic Orthodox Christian

Naguib Onsi Sawiris (or Sawires, Arabic: نجيب انسى ساويرس‎, IPA: [næˈɡiːb ˈʔonsi sæˈwiːɾɪs] or [sæˈwiːɾes]; born 15 June 1954) is an Egyptian businessman and politician. He was executive chairman of the telecommunications companies Wind Telecom and Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH) before turning to politics in May 2011.[1] OTH launched the first mobile operator in Egypt, Mobinil in 1998.

OTH has 20,000 employees and manages 11 GSM operators around the world. In the beginning, OTH’s strategy was to target underpenetrated high population markets. However, soon after it started to pursue more developed markets, with the launch of Wind Mobile by Globalive, its Canadian subsidiary in December 2009. Moreover, OTH launched Koryolink, the first mobile operator in North Korea in 2008.


Sawiris joined Orascom in 1979. The Orascom Group is the country’s largest private-sector employer and has the largest market capitalization on the Cairo and Alexandria Stock Exchange. Sawiris established and built the railway, information technology, and telecommunications sectors of Orascom. The conglomerate was later split into separate operating companies: Orascom Telecom (OT), Orascom Construction Industries (OCI), Orascom Hotels & Development and Orascom Technology Systems (OTS). OTH was established in late 1997 and since then has been chaired by Sawiris.

Wind Telecom S.p.A.[edit]

In early 2005 Sawiris founded Weather Investments (later called WIND Telecom) and led the leveraged buyout of a majority stake of Wind Telecommunications in Italy, taking over as its chairman. A year later, he led Weather Investments' acquisition of TIM Hellas in Greece and re‑branded it as Wind Hellas. In November 2006, Wind Telecommunications floated the largest ever PIK debt in Europe and used the proceeds to complete the buyout of Wind from ENEL, resulting in the Sawiris Family owning 98% of Weather.

In October 2010, VimpelCom Ltd., Russia’s second-largest mobile phone operator, and Sawiris agreed to merge their phone assets in a transaction valued at about $6.5 billion. Sawiris announced his plan for a new company with the companies not included in the merger: the Egyptian mobile-services company Mobinil, the North Korean GSM operator Koryolink, Mena Cables, and non-GSM companies.[2][3] In January 2011, the company changed its name from "Weather Investments S.p.A." to "Wind Telecom S.p.A."[citation needed]


At international and regional levels, Naguib Sawiris serves on the following Boards, Committees, and Councils:

Political involvements[edit]

He is considered a nationalist and supporter of liberalism. He favored a gradual transition during the 2011 Egyptian revolution and played as a mediating figure between the protesters and Hosni Mubarak's people. Although he expressed concerns about the military caretaker government[4] he favored changes that increased democracy and stability.[5] He is the founder of the liberal Free Egyptians Party.[6][7] In 2009 Sawiris launched the Arabic-language ONTV television network, which has adopted a politically liberal stance and, in addition to its popular Ramadan serials, hosted two of the most-watched talk shows in Egypt,[8] including Al Bernameg, a satirical news program hosted by Bassem Youssef, who has been compared to Jon Stewart.[9]

Political difficulties[edit]

In late June 2011, his tweet of Mickey Mouse with an Islamic beard and dressed in a Jilbāb and Minnie Mouse wearing a full Muslim veil caused controversy.[10][11][12] Sawiris' tweet of Mickey and Minnie Mouse in Islamic garb led to calls for a boycott of the various businesses in which he has invested, including Mobinil and the Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper.[13]

Awards and recognitions[edit]

Naguib Sawiris is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, industry awards, and civic honors, including the French Legion of Honour and the Sitara-e-Quaid-e-Azam award, conferred upon him in 2006 by Pervez Musharraf "for services rendered to the people of Pakistan in the field of telecommunication, investments, and social sector work". In November 2011, the Canadian International Council (CIC) recognized him as the 2011 CIC Globalist of the Year.[14]


Naguib Sawiris holds a Diplom (similar to a Master's) in Business Administration and Mechanical Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland and the Abitur (diploma) from the German Protestant School, Cairo, Egypt.

Personal life[edit]

Naguib Sawiris is the eldest of three brothers. His brothers are Nassef Sawiris and Samih Sawiris. He is the son of Onsi Sawiris who established the Orascom Group.

In 2010 Naguib Sawiris was listed in Forbes magazine as the 374th richest person in the world, with a personal wealth of $2.5 billion.[15]

Sawiris is an Egyptian Christian, following the teachings of the Coptic Orthodox Church.


  1. ^ "Egyptian Billionaire Naguib Sawiris Dumps Business For Politics", Mfonobong Nsehe – The Africa Chronicles, Forbes blog. 19 May 2011.
  2. ^ Orascom, VimpelCom, agree to combine phone operations, Al-asr Al-Youm, 4 October 2010
  3. ^ Sawiris to found new company for assets excluded from recent merger, Al-asr Al-Youm, 5 October 2010
  4. ^ Time Magazine
  5. ^ Bloomberg, 30 January 2011
  6. ^ Daily News Egypt
  7. ^ Al-Ahram
  8. ^ "The Egyptian Naguib Sawiris launches a competing channel Al-Jazeera". Technology Data. 30 September 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2012. 
  9. ^ Marx, Willem (29 March 2012). "Bassem Youssef: Egypt's Jon Stewart". Bloomberg Businessweek. 
  10. ^ "Egypt's business mogul Sawiris under fire for Islamic cartoons - Politics - Egypt - Ahram Online". Retrieved 2013-06-23. 
  11. ^ BBC
  12. ^ 28 June 2011, 8:41 AM (2011-06-28). "Bearded Mickey Mouse offends Egyptian Islamists". CBS News. Retrieved 2013-06-23. 
  13. ^ "‫مقاطعة نجيب ساويرس - Boycott Naguib Sawiris | Facebook". Retrieved 2013-06-23. 
  14. ^ "2011 CIC Globalist of the Year", Canadian International Council. Accessed 20 August 2011.
  15. ^ "The World's Billionaires", Forbes. 3 October 2010.

Weather Investments S.p.A

External links[edit]