About Mr. Syed safawi
Syed Safawi is a veteran business leader with over 28 years of rich FMCG, telecom and infrastructure experience in both India and the global markets.Until recently, he was the global Managing Director and Group CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of VLCC, a wellness and healthcare group with operations across Asia, Middle-East and Africa.Prior to VLCC, Syed was the CEO of Viom Networks – a TATA-SREI joint venture, where American Tower Corporation closed the acquisition of a 51% controlling ownership in April, 2016, thus figuring among the top-10 inbound M&A deals in India ever, across sectors.
Having joined Viom in June 2012, the company turnaround to its maiden profit in 2012-13. Viom became a sustainably profitable company, four years in profit with over Rs. 525 crore of net profit in FY15-16 versus a net loss of over Rs. 325 crore four years back. The ROE was almost 40% as compared with (-) 21 % and ROCE over 18% versus 7% four years back. Besides the business transformation, the organizational transformation witnessed an increase in people engagement scores to 87, comparable to Top 100 companies in India (from 62 in 2012).
Prior to Viom Networks, Syed was with Reliance Communication Limited as the President and CEO of the Wireless Business and Chairman of the Reliance Management Board. He worked with RCom for over two years, taking it to over 150 million customers, a US$ 4 billion revenue and US$ 1 billion EBIDTA.He was earlier with Bharti Airtel Limited as the Executive Director, responsible for the East and West India operations along with the international wireless operations.In his earlier role he was also responsible for the global calling cards business and the B2B business of mobile services.
Almost half Syed’s professional career has been with The Coca-Cola Company, where he was last based at Vietnam as Country Manager and CEO, managing the business for Indochina and Malaysia.Prior to that he had served with Coca-Cola in India. He has served on the boards of several companies in India and globally as well in The Coca-Cola Company, the Bharti Group and the Reliance Group and continues to be on several Boards and Advisory Boards.He is an MBA from India and alumnus of The Wharton School, USA and is a certified Director from the Institute of Directors.
His wife Lubna is a medical doctor, who works with international agencies in the area of social and preventive health. They have two daughters, the elder one having worked for a few years, is working with Vodafone post her MBA from India and graduation from University of Warwick, UK and the younger one has just graduated in graphics and visual communication.
With like-minded socially responsible trustees, Syed has started the E&H Foundation, a not for profit, focused on providing quality education and healthcare to the underprivileged children in India’s eastern state of Uttar Pradesh. The foundation currently educates 13,000 children, with a vision to scale up to 100,000 by 2020.