Former GSMA CEO Rob Conway dies


Head of telecoms trade association for 12 years between 1999 and 2011 loses battle with cancer

Former GSMA CEO Rob Conway has died aged 62. The GSMA said he had been battling an aggressive form of cancer.

Conway was head of the GSMA for 12 years before stepping down in September 2011 to head up international affairs at Russian telecoms provider Vimpelcom before stepping down in March 2013.

Several industry veterans that worked alongside or who were close to Conway paid tribute to him.

Telefonica Europe vice president and former GSMA chairman Dr Mike Short CBE said: “Over the 12 years Rob Conway was CEO he took the GSM Association and its members onto a different level. This helped operators and suppliers in many ways as the industry has grown to over seven billion customers.

“Mobile internet and 3G had not really started as customer solutions back when he began. He helped the transition begin from voice to data and to open up the mobile market to many more customers and players. The evidence can be seen at Mobile World Congress now in Barcelona compared to the smaller audiences who could get into MWC Cannes some nine years ago.”

Kevin Taylor of Robertson-Taylor PR was a GSMA consultant who worked closely with Conway for 14 years.

“Rob led a corporate governance overhaul of the GSMA and created the structure that drives the commercial organisation today,” he said. “It  was his desire to see mobile as a force for change that lead to campaigns such “connecting the unconnected” and also the creation of the GSMA’s Development Fund. Rob helped make the GSMA powerful, successful and profitable – but he also wanted it to do good,  because at heart he was a very good man.”

The GSMA will be honouring Conway for his contributions to the development of the mobile industry at Mobile World Congress, which takes place in Barcelona from February 24-27.