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Laureate WTISD 2009
Biography of Mr. Robert G. Conway, Chief Executive Officer, GSM Association 

Rob Conway is the CEO and board member of the GSMA which has grown to become the mobile industry’s leading global institution for strategic planning and engagement, next generation key enablers and their commercial implementation, and public policy development and engagement with the broader eco-system of stakeholders such as government policy makers, consumers, suppliers, the media and others.  Rob was named by Global Telecoms in the top 10 of the most influential leaders in telecoms.  Fierce Wireless named him to the top 20 on their list.
 
He was instrumental with then Chairman Craig Ehrlich in re-engineering and re-energizing GSMA from a quasi-standards body into the industry’s leading global institution critically focused on the imperatives for a healthy industry eco-system. Those efforts led to the creation of the current GSMA board of largely CEOs from across its leading members thereby ensuring tremendous leadership and a cutting edge view which is complemented by constant engagement with leading suppliers in the telecom eco-system, government leaders and others.  Our Leadership Summits are precisely geared to enrich this engagement. To complement the board’s leadership and ensure the most robust consideration of the industry’s developments, he ensured that group level chief strategy officers and chief regulatory officers were added to the GSMA to complement its existing group of senior technical executives.  
 
Mr. Conway is keen that GSMA work deeply in partnership with those in the industry’s eco-system to ensure the best possible engagement and solutions. While suppliers are critical to a healthy eco-system so are governments and not surprisingly GSMA has stepped up its global engagement with governments and their policy makers. This has led to our Government Summit programs and other platforms for engagement as well as our support for numerous industry-Government forums including those led by the UN’s ITU. The GSMA now engages with leading institutions across the globe from the UN’s ITU, the World Bank, IFC, World Economic Forum and Gates Foundation to the G20 where GSMA is leading an effort to promote broadband as the global accelerator for economic recovery.  Mr. Conway firmly believes in the importance of these relationships with leading global institutions as well as with key government Ministers and devotes considerable time to those relationships.
 
From this unique vantage point and executive level collaboration has emerged leading global initiatives such as the Emerging Market Handset Program, 3G For All, Mobile Money (including Mobile Money Transfer and Pay-By-Mobile using NFC), Universal Charging Solution, Embedded Mobile, Green Power for Mobile, Mobile Audience Measurement and Mobile Broadband Campaign, Rich Communication Suite, among many others.  To identify and recognize the leading innovators in the mobile space, GSMA established the “Mobile Innovation Program” which is an innovative mechanism by which mobile innovators of any type or size can interact and become known to venture capital and private equity groups, operators, suppliers and others.
 
GSMA has taken leadership to protect children from those who might exploit them by using mobile phones and established for this purpose the Mobile Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse, spearheaded by Mr. Conway. To address the needs of those at the bottom of the economic pyramid and promote the green agenda, Mr. Conway was instrumental in establishing the GSMA’s Development Fund which was recently awarded more than $12 million in funding from the Gates Foundation for its cutting edge efforts in the area of mobile money for the unbanked (the MMU program).  Its Green Power for Mobile program is leading on the use of energy efficient base stations as well as solar and wind power to reduce carbon footprints while enabling connectivity to mobile for those at the bottom of the pyramid. The Development Fund is working on mobile health and other innovative ways to provide service via mobile to those less fortunate.
 
Mr. Conway was instrumental with then Chairman Ehrlich in acquiring the conference business from Informa and growing it into the industry’s showcase venues with the Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Congress.  He led the formation of a subsidiary group within GSMA called GSMC to manage the growing range of commercial services which GSMA provides to the industry like conferences, Wireless Intelligence (a leading information service), Show Daily (a leading conference publication), PathFinder (global enum service) and others.  This has allowed GSMA to become financially more self-sufficient and therefore more proactive in addressing the needs of our greater community through such vehicles as the Development Fund.  He has grown revenues more than 10 fold and added top executive talent to enable GSMA’s further growth and performance.
 
In addition to his membership on the GSMA board, Mr. Conway is a member of the ITU Board and the Carmel Advisory Board.  He has participated in numerous industry and governmental panels and workshops in India, China, Singapore, Brazil, US and elsewhere. He is a noted industry speaker who has spoken at many industry events.  He was an executive at Motorola, first in its handset group and then as board member on several of their key subsidiaries as well as serving as a CEO.  He was instrumental in the 1990s introducing the first GSM deployment in Latin America through his leadership on the mobile operator in Chile. He was instrumental in the partnership which led to the creation of operator Mobinil in Egypt.  He led Motorola’s efforts in establishing a mobile operator in Brazil and helped sustain Motorola’s mobile operations in Mexico and across the rest of Latin America as well as engagements in Thailand, Vietnam and elsewhere.


 

 


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Updated : 2009-05-18