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CTO of the Year Awards 2020

On Demand:
CTO of the Year Awards 2020

Now in its seventh year, our prestigious annual awards celebrate outstanding, strategic use of technology and talent by Europe’s converged and mobile operators. You can see the calibre of our most recent winners here.

This year to reflect the volatile telecoms market, we have two new categories. Are you or the CTO in your company:

A Trailblazer with bold ideas for future telcos. A creative leader who is pioneering a completely different technology or strategy. At this stage, it might be more about the vision than results; perhaps the most talked-about example right now is Rakuten (which is not eligible to enter) and its cloud-native approach, but there are many others out there. Is this you?

A Gamechanger who gets that execution is everything. An inspirational CTO or equivalent leader who has deployed a strategy or technology to deliver tangible operational and business benefits. Here are some suggested examples of outcomes that might make the cut, but the list is not exhaustive. Have you reduced costs while improving services? Reimagined customer experience? Slashed time to market or launched new services? Boosted your profits? If so, here’s what to do, now.

To qualify

If you are the CTO (or equivalent) of a European converged or mobile network operator you can submit your own entry or you enter on behalf of your CTO.

To submit your entry

Fill in the entry form BY THE CLOSE OF BUSINESS ON 27 MARCH 2020 following these simple guidelines:

  • Make it personal –the entry must be about the individual and the particular attributes, experience and approach they bring to their role, rather than about the company per se. We want to understand this person’s contribution to the company, which of course is likely also to impact its customers as well as suppliers and partners.
  • Keep it short – 1200 words in total, choosing the boxes that are most appropriate for the nominee and adding others if necessary, but you can include hyperlinks to brief supporting material.
  • Contact the editor with queries – she’s here to help you make your entry as good as it can possibly be.

The judging panel

The judges will meet in London in mid-April in closed session and their decisions will be final. They are:

  • Caroline Gabriel, Owner and Research Director, Rethink Research
  • Kester Mann, Director, Consumer and Connectivity, CCS Insights
  • Bengt Nordström, Founder & CEO, Northstream (now part of Accenture)
  • Payam Taaghol, CEO, MYCOM OSI, which sponsors the CTO of the Year Awards
  • Annie Turner, Editor, Mobile Communications & European Communications

Roundtable, Awards ceremony and celebratory dinner

This invitation-only group, including all those who have been shortlisted, will have a peer-to-peer discussion at the luxury Andaz Hotel in the City of London, followed by the Awards ceremony and a celebratory dinner.

Sponsored by:

Previous Winners

CTO of the Year 2019 – Elmar Grasser, CTO, Sunrise Communications

Since Elmar assumed the role six years ago, the quality of Sunrise’s network has improved dramatically. The operator took Swisscom’s crown for having the best network two years running, based on third-party benchmarking, and ran it a very close second by one point the third year.

Most recently Elmar has overseen the deployment of 5G under the banner of ‘5G for the People’, rolling out coverage to more than 150 cities and villages across Switzerland. The first customers started using 5G services for broadband at the start of April.

CTO of the Year 2019 – Boris Drilo, CTIO, Hrvatski Telekom

Boris joined the company in 2012, from Ericsson, and became its CTIO in December 2016.

The judges were impressed by the breadth of his achievements. Just two examples are the total modernisation of the radio access network in just two years, and 59% of households in Croatia now having more than 30 Mbps available and a further 22% households with more than 100Mbps.

Group CTO of the Year 2018 – Johan Wilbergh, Vodafone Group

Wilbergh was lauded for leading Vodafone’s extensive 5G innovation strategy, which has spanned its different markets across Europe. The judging panel also noted his influence in steering the agenda of the Next Generation Mobile Network Alliance as its Chairman and focus on improving the performance of Vodafone’s networks worldwide.

Regional CTO of the Year 2018 – Gediz Sezgin, Turkcell

Gediz Sezgin was singled out by the judging panel for juggling numerous innovative projects. Sezgin has worked on a nationally produced base station, worked extensively on virtualisation projects and led a shift in the operator’s strategy from a conventional communication service provider to digital service provider.

Sponsored by:



Wednesday, 03 June 2020


All of the day


Andaz Liverpool Street Hotel