MEF Announces Its New Board, a New Chair and Diversity at Its Heart

The Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF) today announced its new board positions. This includes
a new chair (for the first time in 16 years) and vice chairs, a brand-new Emeritus position
and an increase in the number of women on the Board. A wide range of countries and
expertise is also represented.

The new MEF Board has voted Robert Gerstmann, Chief Evangelist and co-founder at Sinch,
as the new Chair. He takes over from long-standing chair and original founder, Andrew Bud
who has stepped aside and been honoured for his work with a position as “Founder and
Emeritus Chair”, acting as a special advisor to the new chair.

“I am very honoured and thankful to have been elected chairman of the mobile ecosystem
forum. This is an exciting time with rapid changes across all our six focus sectors: enterprise
communications, IoT, connectivity, payments, personal data and identity, content and advertising. The rise of generative AI, growing 5G adoption, impending RCS support on iOS,
and WhatsApp’s expanding business messaging market share will revolutionise mobile
communications. At the same time, enterprises, service providers, networks, and regulators
must collaborate to ensure digitisation delivers consumer value without neglecting security
and privacy. Excited to team up with fellow board members, the MEF team, and all
ecosystem players to navigate the mobile industry’s growth potential and overcome the
pitfalls together!’ said Robert Gerstmann, chair of the MEF Board.

“The entire board, past and present, would like to thank Andrew for his stewardship, his
guidance and unfailing dedication to MEF. He has taken the organisation from an initial idea
to the global body it is today. We are thrilled he has agreed to stay on as Emeritus Chair and
special advisor – his expertise will continue to be invaluable,” said Dario Betti, CEO of MEF.

The board also has two new vice chairs: Waheed Adam, executive chairman of iTouch
messaging services in South Africa, and Tim Ward, VP number information services at
Xconnect in the UK.

In addition, MEF has increased the number of women on its board to 30%. Better gender
diversity and representation are things MEF is committed to, not just on the board but
across the industry in general.

The new women on the board are Divya Wakankar and Amira Akra, who join existing board
member Valeria Magoni from Kaleyra. All three have impressive telco experience.

Divya Wakankar is the EVP of strategy, corporate development, and chief marketing officer at BICS. Previously, Divya led BICS’ enterprise business and digital product management, creating innovative solutions and guiding enterprises through their digital transformation
journey. Her passion lies in the global impact of digitalisation and emerging technologies.

Amira Akra, product manager, Messaging, at Vodafone, has been in the telecoms industry
for many years, from research to business development to project and product

Valeria Magoni is senior director of product and corporate marketing at Kaleyra. She has over 15 years of experience in international marketing roles across digital, IT services, and
technology organisations. Valeria is a Durham University MBA graduate and further
completed her education at MIT and SFU Business School; she was a “Women in Tech”
mentor at Web Summit and a SaaStr speaker. Valeria has been confirmed as the chair of the
growth and marketing committee within the MEF Board.

“Women are still underrepresented in the telecoms sector. Things are much, much better
than they used to be, but the industry still has a long way to go. Over 50% of the staff
employed at MEF identify as women, but once you get to board level, that number is much
lower. This is something we are all committed to changing and are actively working on ways to
to encourage the talented women already working in the industry to step forward and apply
to join the MEF Board,” said Valeria Magoni, board member and chair of the marketing and
growth committee at MEF.

The board is diverse in other ways too. Its members come from four continents, eight
countries, including South Africa, India, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Belgium, Sweden and the UK,
and represent four of the value chains within the mobile ecosystem; MNO, wholesale
carrier, customer engagement services, and telco vendors.

Elections are held every year, with MEF members voting for their preferred candidates and
each board position is held for two years.