Top 40

Jay Freeman, founder, Cydia

Jay Freeman is a PhD student at the University of California. But in between lectures and seminars he’s found time to take on the mighty Apple. Freeman is the developer of Cydia, an alternative application installer for the iPhone, allowing users to run the programs that Apple refuses to allow into its official App Store.

Morgan Gillis, executive director LiMO Foundation

For all the noise that Google and Symbian might make about the open source nature of their handset operating systems, they are still driven by single vendors. The LiMO Foundation, says Morgan Gillis, is genuinely free of a dominant corporate leader. And Gillis has the responsibility of proving that such an environment can generate an operating system that is truly competitive to those that are more obviously steered.

Lowell McAdam, president and CEO, Verizon Wireless

The leader of the largest US mobile carrier, McAdam will be responsible for bringing his more than 86 million customers into the fold of a single global 4G standard now that Verizon has announced its intention to pursue LTE technology. He also has to manage the sometimes tricky relationship between his two investors, Verizon and Vodafone and their interaction with China Mobile and Softbank as part of the Joint Innovation Lab.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman and CEO, Bharti Enterprises

The jewel in Mittal’s rather large corporate crown is Bharti Airtel, India’s leading mobile carrier. With more than 100 million customers it is the third largest single market player after Chinese carriers Mobile and Unicom.

Bill Morrow, CEO Clearwire

A former chief executive at Vodafone’s Japanese and UK operations, as well as head of the firm’s European portfolio, Bill Morrow now leads US WiMAX carrier Clearwire. Much has been written about the market for WiMAX in a world where cellular standards dominate, and Morrow’s operation now shoulders a burden of proof for the technology and its business model in developed markets.

Boris Nemsic, CEO Vimpelcom

Having built a portfolio of smaller operations in Central and Eastern Europe as the CEO of Telekom Austria, Boris Nemsic moved in April this year to Vimpelcom, the second-placed Russian carrier that has a portfolio of interests in the CIS as well as Vietnam and Cambodia. The move was a big step up—Telekom Austria had 16.8 million users when Nemsic left compared to Vimpelcom’s 60.9 million.

Michael O’Hara, chief marketing officer, GSM Association

The GSMA has evolved to become one of the most powerful trade associations in the world, lobbying governments on everything from tax policy to pricing strategy and producing feature-length documentaries on the improvements that mobile has brought to the lives of people across the world.

René Obermann, chief executive officer, Deutsche Telekom

A young CEO (he was appointed at 43), Obermann’s background is in the mobile operation of DT, T-Mobile. The firm’s mobile assets rank it sixth in the world by customer numbers, with more than 124 million subscribers at the close of Q109. Obermann has focused the carrier on Europe, and it has one of the strongest pan-European portfolios in the world, with a decent spread across the western, central and eastern regions of the continent.

Chamath Palihapitiya, VP of growth, mobile and international, Facebook

Charged with growing usage of Facebook around the world and on the mobile platform, Chamath Palihapitiya appears to be performing well. A recent study of UK users between the ages of 16 and 35 revealed that more than a third of the surveyed demographic regularly accesses Facebook accounts from their mobile phone. This is more than the number that access Bebo, Twitter and Myspace combined.

Andrew Bud, co-founder and executive chairman, mBlox

Prior to assuming the role of executive chairman in 2003, Andrew was the CEO of mBlox, which he co-founded in 1999. Headquartered in California, mBlox claims to be the largest provider of mobile content transmission and billing services in the world, with a particular focus on Europe and the US. In 2008 it processed 2.5 billion mobile transactions, worth $500m.

Ben Verwaayen, CEO, Alcatel Lucent

A former BT chairman and president of PTT in the Netherlands, Verwaayen took on the challenge of Alcatel Lucent in 2008. And a challenge it most certainly is. The previous leadership pairing of Pat Russo and Serge Tchuruk presided over billions of dollars in losses, before being forced to step down amid judgements that their merger had been a disaster. The seemingly insurmountable problems they faced became Verwaayen’s.

Hans Vestberg, CEO designate, Ericsson

In June this year, when Carl-Henric Svanberg announced that he was standing down as the president and CEO of Swedish infrastructure vendor to become chairman of BP, he had already selected his successor; his CFO, Hans Vestberg.

Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera

Icelander Jon von Tetzchner is the CEO of Opera Software, a company notable for its development of a successful web browser that’s not called Internet Explorer or FireFox.

Vivek Badrinath, chairman, Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance

A senior France Telecom executive, Vivek Badrinath also heads up the NGMN alliance, a grouping of cellular carriers
whose mission it is to advise standards bodies responsible for developing future mobile telephony platforms as to exactly what it is that operators want to see delivered.

Lee Williams, executive director, Symbian Foundation

By far the most popular mobile OS in terms of units shipped—primarily because of Nokia’s market dominance—Symbian is moving into a new phase. Lee Williams is tasked with overseeing this evolution, and ensuring that the new, open source Symbian platform doesn’t lose market share to Apple, Android and RIM.

César Alierta Izuel, chairman, Telefónica

Spanish incumbent carrier Telefónica is the fourth largest mobile operator in the world. Under the guidance of César Alierta-chairman since 2000-it became the first Spanish company to be listed in the NY Dow Jones 50 Global Titans index, in 2005. Alierta has previously held a board position at China Mobile, and retains a seat on the board of Telecom Italia, in which Telefónica holds a 9.98 per cent stake.