Ralph Yirikian

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Ralph Yirikian
Ռալֆ Յիրիկյան

(1967-11-16)November 16, 1967
Known forGeneral Manager of VivaCell-MTS

Ralph Yirikian (Armenian: Ռալֆ Յիրիկյան) is the General Manager of VivaCell-MTS (MTS Armenia CJSC), a 2005 startup which became Armenia's leading telecommunications operator and one of the top taxpayers.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Ralph Cesar Yirikian was born on November 16, 1967, in Beirut, Lebanon. With his younger twin brothers and sister, he grew up in Beirut. After civil war broke out in 1975, his childhood was marked by deprivation and scenes of violence.[2].

Ralph Yirikian graduated from the American University of Beirut with a bachelor's degree in economics in 1991.[3] In 1992, he received a second bachelor's degree from the university, this time in business administration.[citation needed]

Business career[edit]

From 1991 to 1992 Yirikian worked at AUB’s Jafet Library as an assistant in the Archiving and Documentation Department, and later as a computer operator at the Lebanese George Matta Establishment. In 1993, he worked as an executive secretary of Al Maha Group Holdings in Qatar, and as an Assistant management consultant at Nasser, Ghattas and Co, in Cyprus.

From 1994 to 1996 Yirikian was the Head of the Administration and Personnel Department at Al Maha Group Holdings. From 1997-1999 he was the head of the Administration and Customer Service Department at Nasser, Ghattas and Co., in Cyprus. Between 1999 and 2001 Yirikian was the head of the Administrative Unit at LibanCell Company in the Lebanon. From February 2002 till July 2004 he was the General Manager of Karabakh Telecom.[4]

General Manager at VivaCell-MTS[edit]

Ralph Yirikian is VivaCell-MTS General Manager since November 2004. Under his leadership, in a short period of time VivaCell-MTS grew into an exemplary enterprise with over 60% of market share, about 1300 employees and one of the largest taxpayers of Armenia.

VivaCell grew quickly and, in 2007, the company’s only shareholder, Fattouch Group, agreed to sell 80% of its shares to Mobile TeleSystems PJSC (MTS), the largest mobile operator in the Commonwealth of Independent States and Russian Federation[5]. As of today, VivaCell-MTS (MTS Armenia CJSC) shareholders are 80% MTS Russian MTS Group (Mobile TeleSystems PJSC) and 20% - Lebanese Fattouche Group. After acquisition by MTS also Ralph Yirikian stayed as the General Manager of VivaCell-MTS. Under his leadership, the Company continued striving and achieved new heights: first in Armenia 3G rollout based on UMTS/HSPA (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System / High Speed Packet Access) technology, launched on April 17, 2009, was a defining moment for the Armenian population. The introduction of 3G opened up new opportunities for the business and everyday life in the country [6]. Further, on the 20th of December, 2010, VivaCell-MTS launched the first 4G/LTE network in Armenia and the region [7]

“VivaCell-MTS’ LTE roll-out positions Armenia to be one of the selected global leaders in 4G deployment. In addition, the launch of 4G is expected to present Armenia as a country with attractive communication infrastructure,” commented VivaCell-MTS General Manager Ralph Yirikian[8]. Now, VivaCell-MTS’ 4G/LTE network, which is the largest in Armenia, covers 22 towns and is available to 52.5% of the population[9].

Introduction of the culture of corporate social responsibility in Armenia[edit]

Helping the society is part of the mission of VivaCell-MTS. Due to having Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) approach institutionalized at the Company level, and ingrained in its daily operations, VivaCell-MTS has become the pioneer of the corporate sector in promoting the concept of Corporate Responsibility in Armenia. In doing this, VivaCell-MTS has adopted the slogan “VivaCell-MTS is leading by example”, by calling other business entities to make CSR an integral part of their activity also. Starting from the first day of its operation, the Company has been making considerable social investments into the implementation of innovative projects in the spheres of Information and Communication Technologies, healthcare, culture, science, children, environmental protection, sport, education, and rural infrastructure, with focus on borderland.

՞Businesses don’t exist in a geographical or social vacuum; they are a part of society and located physically in particular communities and areas. This is in part a general civic and social responsibility towards the local communities in which business operates.

VivaCell-MTS is the first telecommunications operator in Armenia and the CIS that has successfully implemented ISO 26000 guidelines [10].

In 2016, VivaCell-MTS received a certificate of awarding for the widest and most developed network, efficient work with corporate customers, rendered innovative services and guidance by social responsibility from the National Association of Consumers. On February 28, 2017, the Company was recognized as “Accessible Mobile Operator” in the framework of “Accessible places” awards by the “Armenian Camp” NGO [11].

New culture of management[edit]

In the early days of VivaCell-MTS’ operation, Yirikian not only had to overcome the technical challenges of building a radio network, installing base stations in remote areas throughout the mountainous country, recruiting specialists, but he also had to battle with the remnants of Armenian business culture from the Soviet era. Yirikian explains that he urged his employees to take responsibility and make their own decisions.[12]

The new culture of corporate management developed at VivaCell-MTS in the course of its activity gave birth to a lecture course called “Business with a Mission”, where the experience of more than 11 years of successful operation was summarized. At the beginning, the lecture was being delivered to university students who were hosted at VivaCell-MTS under the umbrella of Open Days at VivaCell-MTS frequently organized by the Company. Ralph Yirikian has been personally lecturing for senior school children and university students, by giving them an opportunity to physically get acquainted with how the Company operates, interacts with its customers and lives as a family.

Later on, as a visiting lecturer, Ralph Yirikian was invited to numerous higher educational institutions to speak on the “Business with a Mission.” Also, based on the request by higher educational institutions, he delivers lectures on the basics of telecommunications and corporate culture [13]


Ralph Yirikian is married and has one daughter and one son.


As himself
Year Title Notes
2017 Nice Evening (Լավ Երեկո) Special guest


  1. ^ Manookian, Lisa (21 May 2010). "VivaCell-MTS General Manager Ralph Yirikian Visits Philadelphia- Armenian Community". Armenian Mirror-Spectator. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  2. ^ "«Պատերազմի դժվարություններն ինձ շատ են կոփել»". 168.am. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  3. ^ "VivaCell CEO Ralph Yirikian to Speak at AUA on Entrepreneurship and Innovation". American University of Armenia. 26 February 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  4. ^ Բախչինյան, Ֆելիքս "Ռալֆ Յիրիկյան" Երևան, Գասպրինտ, 2008
  5. ^ "MTS enters Armenia". mtsgsm.com/. 14 September 2009. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  6. ^ "VivaCell-MTS Announces The Commercial Launch Of 3G Network In Armenia". [1]]. 17 April 2009. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  7. ^ "VivaCell-MTS launches commercial test operation of first 4G network in region". [2]]. 20 December 2010. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  8. ^ "VivaCell-MTS Launches 4G Test Network in Armenia". The Armenian Observer Blog. 20 December 2010. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  9. ^ "Մինչև տարեվերջ Հայաստանի ամենաընդարձակ 4G ցանցը կընդգրկի 22 քաղաք". Tert.am. 9 January 2017. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  10. ^ "VivaCell-MTS awarded for the implementation of ISO 26000 international standard of CSR". Itel.am. 7 June 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  11. ^ "VivaCell-MTS awarded Accessible Mobile Operator prize". Tert.am. 2 March 2017. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  12. ^ Exceptional, July–December 2010, Ernst and Young, Signaling Change, How Ralph Yirikian of VivaCell-MTS is transforming Armenia’s telecoms sector, p. 5-9
  13. ^ "VivaCell-MTS ընկերության գլխավոր տնօրենը Գյումրիի ուսանողների համար բջջայի կապի տեխնոլոգիաների մասին դասախոսություն է կարդացել". Telecom.arka.am. 27 May 2009. Retrieved 28 May 2017.