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Saad Al-Barrak to publish autobiography

Ex Zain Group head's book charts Al-Barrak's life from childhood to present day

Saad Al-Barrak, the former head of Zain Group is releasing his autobiography.
Saad Al-Barrak, the former head of Zain Group is releasing his autobiography.

An autobiography by Dr Saad Al-Barrak, the Kuwaiti national who led Zain Group from 2002 to 2010, is due to be published in March by Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing.

The book, which is called "A Passion for Adventure", charts Al-Barrak’s childhood, university days and career in telecoms, including his transformation of Kuwait’s state-run mobile operator, MTC, to regional telecoms giant Zain, a source told CommsMEA.

The former Zain chief has been working on the book for the past 18 months and Bloomsbury is understood to be in the final stages of preparing it for publishing. The book will be published in English, with an Arabic translation to follow about six months later, a friend of Saad Al Barrak told CommsMEA.

Al-Barrak became CEO of MTC Group – which was later re-branded Zain – in mid 2002. Over the next seven years he lived up to his call to “be bold, be daring, be different” by transforming the telco from a single country operation with a subscriber base of 600,000 into a pan-regional operator with a footprint across 23 countries and more than 70 million active subscribers. Over the same period, revenues jumped from $400 million to some $8 billion.

Al-Barrak led Zain’s acquisition in 2005 of African mobile operator Celtel for $3.3bn. The deal, which saw Zain expand its footprint in 13 countries in Africa, transformed the MEA region’s telecom landscape and influenced Zain’s rivals including Etisalat, Qtel, STC Group and Batelco to expand more aggressively through acquisitions.

The former CEO also oversaw the re-branding of MTC as Zain in 2007, and the roll-out of the operator’s influential “One Network” initiative, which unified most of the group’s operations under a single roaming tariff.

Al-Barrak resigned as CEO of Zain Group in February 2010, just months before the telco sold the majority of its African operations to Bharti Airtel for $10.7 billion.

Al-Barrak remained with the company as CEO of Zain KSA until October 2011.