Rolling out major fibre deployments throughout a geographically and politically diverse country four times the size of the UK is no mean feat and one that Ibikunle Jimo, Chief Information Officer for 9mobile in Nigeria is focused on.
9mobile is in the process of acting on a five-year plan to transform the business into a leading competitor in the Nigerian telecom market. Transformation expert, Jimo is navigating the telecom services space to offer a seamless customer experience as 9mobile moves forward.
Founded in 2008 as Etisalat Nigeria, 9mobile rebranded in 2017 to better reflect both the company’s wholly-Nigerian-owned identity which is the fourth-largest telecom in Nigeria.
“I worked in telco for 17 years. I've worked in various IT functions in the telco space, from service, operations and IT transformation,” said Jimo.
“My current role as Chief Information Officer means I am responsible for technology and positioning the organisation to deliver on BSS and ESS applications that we use in supporting our customers,” said Jimo whose experience ranges from various IT functions in the telco space, service management, operations and IT transformation.
Prior to joining 9mobile Jimo was General Manager of IT Transformation & Projects with Airtel Networks and worked for MTN for almost nine years. Before this, he worked at Agusto & Co where he was IT Manager.
Jimo describes his leadership style as ‘hands on’ and says he runs an open office where everyone is free to engage with him on both professional and personal issues. “I set the vision for the team and roll up my sleeves, when necessary, to ensure that we achieve that goal,” he said.
“I am very hard on performance, but soft on people - but what does that mean in practice? I have a lot of empathy to understand the deficiencies of a person working with me and ensure that I get the best out of them. But at the same time, I’m always very focused on what we need to deliver. What we commit to is exactly what we deliver - that's my leadership style.”
Addressing how he has adapted his style of leadership during the pandemic Jimo said it was a challenge not to have human interaction but the tools available at 9mobile enabled him to stay in touch with employees as they worked remotely.
“I think even beyond the lockdown this is the new world we will be working in - I don't want to define normal anymore as it keeps changing every day.”
The three traits he admires in a leader is knowledge, humility and the power to remain humble in high office.
“Knowledge really attracts me to any leader and is the number one quality. A leader must have something to offer and I like to pick up knowledge from a leader. Humility is also important as leaders should not lose touch with their followers and remain humble.
“The one person I really admire is Mr Bode Agusto who I worked for at Agusto & Co. He was a knowledge powerhouse of a leader but also very humble and someone you could look up to as a mentor.
“When he walked into the office he would smile at the cleaners and everyone around - that level of confidence inspires me. A little smile is reassuring for the team and is a difficult trick to find."
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