From Telco to Techco: The Stunning Evolution of e& Under Hatem Dowidar!


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Hatem Dowidar, the Group CEO of e&, is leading a remarkable transformation. Dowidar, who has a background in engineering and business administration, has led Etisalat through a transformative journey, leveraging innovation and strategic partnerships to drive growth and digital empowerment. For over 48 years, e& (formerly known as Etisalat Group) has been a telecommunications pioneer in the UAE. Under his leadership, the company is redefining itself, moving from a traditional telco to a dynamic techco.

Born with a passion for technology and innovation, Hatem Dowidar embarked on his journey in the telecommunications industry armed with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Electronics Engineering from Cairo University.

Hatem Dowidar’s career trajectory soared as he honed his strategic acumen, earning an MBA from the American University in Cairo. His blend of technical expertise and business savvy positioned him as a formidable leader in the telecom sector.

Dowidar’s journey with e& began in September 2015, when he joined as the group’s Chief Operating Officer. His strategic acumen and relentless pursuit of excellence led to his appointment as Chief Executive Officer of International in March 2016. In 2020, he assumed the role of group CEO, overseeing a global workforce of more than 46,000 employees.

Etisalat: A Global Telecom Giant

Hatem’s entry into Etisalat, one of the world’s largest telecom operators, boasts a brand portfolio valued at $10.9 billion. With a presence in 16 countries across the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, the company serves a staggering 154 million subscribers. Its revenues reached $14.1 billion in 2020, reflecting a year-over-year increase of 3.6%.

Strategic Partnerships and Digital Empowerment

Under the astute guidance of Hatem Dowidar, e& has attained remarkable milestones, particularly in forging strategic partnerships and advancing digital empowerment initiatives. Among the notable developments achieved under his leadership is the establishment of telehealth services in collaboration with the American Hospital, a significant leap forward in utilizing technology for societal well-being. This initiative, launched in January 2020 under the umbrella of Etisalat Digital, underscores the company’s unwavering commitment to leveraging technological innovations to enhance healthcare accessibility and quality.

Moreover, Dowidar’s influence extends beyond the realm of e&, as he has held esteemed positions as a board member for various prominent organizations. From Hutch Lanka to Etisalat Nigeria, Attijariwafa Bank Egypt, Barclays Bank Egypt, Vodacom Africa, Vodafone Egypt, Malta, and ElSweedy Electrometers, his expertise has been instrumental in shaping the strategic direction and operational excellence of these entities. This breadth of experience underscores his profound impact and influence within the telecommunications and financial sectors across diverse geographies.

Furthermore, under Dowidar’s visionary leadership, e& has transcended its traditional role as a telecommunications provider to emerge as a formidable force in the realm of technology. Through strategic collaborations with global industry titans such as Microsoft and Meta, e& has embraced a new identity as a “techco.” These partnerships exemplify his commitment to driving digital transformation and connectivity on a global scale.

By harnessing cutting-edge technologies and fostering innovation, e& is empowering societies and facilitating digital inclusion, thereby shaping a more connected and digitally empowered future for all.

Obstacles and Goals

Dowidar faces challenges typical of any transformative journey. The telecom industry is evolving rapidly, and e& must adapt swiftly. Regulatory changes, technological disruptions, and shifting consumer expectations are hurdles that require strategic agility.

To position e& as a global technology powerhouse. Beyond connectivity, Dowidar envisions comprehensive solutions that enhance lives, businesses, and communities. His commitment to sustainability and ESG principles ensures that e& remains a responsible corporate citizen.

Recognition and Industry Leadership

Hatem Dowidar’s strategic prowess has not gone unnoticed. e& is recognized as the most valuable publicly traded company in the region. Forbes acknowledges its status as the most valuable listed telecommunications service provider in the GCC. Hatem’s leadership has propelled e& to new heights, making it a beacon of innovation and progress.

Hatem Dowidar’s Vision for the Future

At the core of Hatem Dowidar’s vision lies a steadfast commitment to digital empowerment. Through the strategic amalgamation of cutting-edge technologies and impactful partnerships, he envisions a world where the digital divide is bridged and societies worldwide are empowered. Fueled by an unwavering dedication to innovation, Hatem foresees Etisalat transcending its current boundaries in the telecommunications landscape. 

In this future landscape, Etisalat will redefine industry norms, consistently delivering unparalleled value to its diverse array of customers and stakeholders. This vision reflects Dowidar’s profound belief in the transformative power of technology to shape a more connected, inclusive, and prosperous global community.

As we look ahead, Hatem Dowidar’s legacy will continue to shape the future of telecommunications, bridging the gap between connectivity and transformation. His vision is not only about bytes and bandwidth; it’s about empowering societies through technology.

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