Issam ("Sam") Darwish
Executive Vice Chairman and Group CEO
Sam has over 20 years’ experience in the telecommunications industry and is the co-founder of IHS Towers (“IHS”), the largest independent tower operator in Europe, Middle East and Africa by tower count and the third largest independent multinational tower company globally. Previously he served as the Deputy Managing Director of CELIA Motophone Ltd, Nigeria’s first Global System for Mobiles operator. He was also the Vice Chairman and Director of Projects at Lintel, an international Global System for Mobiles operator, responsible for global project implementation in West Africa and the Middle East. Before that he was the Network Chief Engineer for Libancell (currently Touch), Lebanon’s first GSM network operator.
Sam also serves as the Founder and Principal of Singularity Investments, a private investment firm with a focus on technology, media and telecommunications companies in the United States and the emerging markets. He is also the Founder and President of DAR Properties, a property investment company, and DAR Telecoms, a telecoms consulting compan
Sam has supported incubator programs for aspiring tech entrepreneurs in Lagos, serves as a mentor to local businesses executives and contributes to local community projects throughout Nigeria. Under Sam’s leadership, IHS has launched an award-winning Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility (CSR) program, which is focused on enabling local community growth; and the IHS Academy, a world class online training portal comprised of numerous courses utilizing a variety of learning mediums ranging from classroom-based or E-learning through to the latest gamification techniques focused on developing the skills necessary to succeed in the telecoms sector. The Academy app and online interactive platform are available to all IHS employees and seek to help further develop IHS’ culture of continuous learning and excellence. The CSR strategy is needs-based, tailored to each country’s operations and focuses on four pillars including business ethics, people, environment and education. These various community building initiatives are a testament to Sam’s commitment to constant innovation and new skill development which will ultimately translate into stronger local business ecosystems throughout the emerging markets.
Sam is a member of the Wilson Center Global Advisory Council and is a frequent speaker at telecom industry events. He is a graduate, with distinction, of the American University of Beirut with a Bachelor’s Engineering Degree in Computer Communications.
Sam was awarded the CNBC Africa Business Leader of the Year Award for West Africa in 2016 and the TowerXchange Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017 for his founding and continued leadership of IHS Towers.