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Profiles of the men who determine your internet experience

These are the men you should call out next time you are having a sour experience online. They are also the ones who ensure your internet experience is great fueling your addiction to guzzle data.

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Nothing can be more frustrating than a hitched and bumpy browsing experience. It is even more annoying when this is experienced while trying to get something really important and urgent done, not just having a random surf of the internet.

Most often, we are quick to point accusing fingers at the MDs and CEOs of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and why not? They are the public figures associated with the company, after all – for good or otherwise.

Today, we bring you the Chief Technical Officers (CTOs) of the leading ISPs. They are the tech-savvy guys who manage and maintain the technology infrastructure of the ISPs, and these are the things that really determine whether or not you have a hitch-free internet experience, or struggle to hold yourself from smashing your device on the floor.

These are the men you should call out next time you are having a sour experience online. They are also the ones who ensure your internet experience is great fueling your addiction to guzzle data.

They are rarely in the public eye, or in the office for that matter. Their main domain is the field, where they spend time fixing technical challenges or designing new infrastructure to enhance your experience.

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READ MORE: Can this little known FMCG player ever compete with the big names?


Mohammed Ghidan – CTIO, Airtel Nigeria

Mohammed Ghidan was appointed Chief Technical & Information Technology Officer (CTIO) of Airtel Nigeria in March 2014.
He had worked as CTO of Orascom Telecom Algerie S.P.A. (VimpelCom) in Algeria, coordinating the network technology to service 17 million subscribers. Other experiences cut across mobile and fixed operations in different countries including Egypt, North Korea, Pakistan, Greece, Tunisia, Italy, and Canada.

This technician currently has over two decades of professional experience in the telecoms sector and has attended training programs in almost every country where he worked.
He is an Electrical and Electronics Graduate from Menufia University and has several other professional certifications.

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Mohammed Rufai – CTO, MTN Nigeria

Mohammed Rufai was appointed as MTN Nigeria’s Chief Technical Officer (CTO) in May 2019, and immediately took responsibility for the company’s tech strategy roadmap.

He joined the company in 2002 as an RF/BTS Support Engineer in Kano, and his impressive results pushed him through the ranks to become General Manager in 2009. Given the high performance of the network operations team that he led, he was soon reassigned to MTN Ghana as Chief Technical Officer in 2015.
The company’s statement acknowledges that his tenure in Ghana saw data usage increase by over 900% and voice traffic almost triple, among other notable feats; this explains why he is a two-time winner of the ‘CTO of the Year’ award at the Ghana IT and Telecoms Awards (GITTA).

MTN performs well in NCA's Quality of Service Monitoring - Atinka FM

In May 2019, he returned as CTO, MTN Nigeria to work his magic in developing and maintaining the tech infrastructure.

Rufai has almost 20 years’ experience in Information and Communication Technology and Telecoms, all gained while in the employ of the MTN Group.

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He holds a Bachelor of Technology degree in Computer Science from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, and professional certifications from the General Management Program at Cranfield University, the Global Advance Program at Duke Corporate Education, India, and the Senior Management Program at Lagos Business School.

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READ ALSO: BudgIT’s Onigbinde has resigned as Technical Adviser to Ministry of Budget


Arun Panda – CTO, Spectranet Limited

Panda was appointed Chief Technical Officer of Spectranet in March 2015.

So far, this is the third company where he has held this position, as he had previously served as CTO in Libercell in Liberia, and Hits Telecom, Kuwait after the company acquired majority shareholding in Atlantic Wireless, Liberia and its brand, Libercell.

His nearly 30 years’ experience also includes 8 years spent at Reliance Communications Ltd as General Manager, Network Operations Centre, and another 8 years+ at the Indian Telecommunication Service, in the Department of Telecommunications (DOT).

Arun Panda - Chief Technical Officer - Spectranet Limited | LinkedIn

He is a seasoned technical expert in centralised NOC operations, remote troubleshooting in Optical SDH network, installation & commissioning of TDM switches, RLUs, transmission MUX and other aspects of telecom service.

Arun Panda holds a B.Eng Electronics and Telcom, as well as Masters in Communication Systems and Engineering from the Sambalpur University in India.

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READ ALSO: NCC wades into Coronavirus linkage with 5G, says controversy is untrue


Omoyeni Victor Collins – CTO, VDT Communications

Omoyeni Victor Collins joined VDT Communications in 2001 and headed the Technical and Operations department before he was appointed CTO.

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His almost 20 years’ experience cuts across Networking design, Microwave design and installations, large-scale engineering projects in FTTH, SDH, and voice and data integration.

Omoyeni Victor Collins (Engr.) – VDT Communications Limited

Victor holds a B.Eng in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Federal University of Technology, Minna. He is a certified Microsoft Professional (MCP) and has other technical professional certifications, including ITIL and Cisco.

He is also an Alumnus of Lagos Business School and has undergone various Technical and Managerial training and seminars, both within and outside the country.


Paul Jaikaran – CTO MainOne

Paul Jaikaran is a British tech guru, with about 23 years of experience. He became Chief Technical Officer at MainOne, after holding the same position in three other companies: GSTelecom, Vodacom Business Africa, and ipNX.

His career did not start off in telecoms, but in the Shell Petroleum Group in UK, where he worked as a data network engineer. He occupied other positions within the SPDC and Shell Nigeria Exploration (deep water).
Some of his roles in the Shell Group include Operations, Network Design and Project Management.

All of these experiences contribute to make him proficient in network and data center planning, engineering and implementation/build-out, operations management, and network and service performance assurance.

He is a graduate of Imperial College (University of London), and holds an MSc in Communications Engineering.


Opeyemi Ajiboye – CTO, Tizeti Network (wifi.com)

Opeyemi joined Tizeti Network as CTO, after a stint with ipNX Nigeria, Infrastructure Division, where he was the pioneer Chief Executive Officer (CEO). He also doubled as Head, Engineering.

He has over 16 years’ experience in the technical communications industry and business operations and infrastructure. The earlier part of his career was spent at LM Ericsson in several positions: Senior Service Manager, Technical Sale of WCDMA, Service Delivery Line Manager for Access Network, Technical Lead on multiple projects; he managed service operations, and was Head, Network Rollout Implementation Management.

Newly appointed Chief Technical Officer at Tizeti Network Limited

He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Ilorin, and MBA (Technical Management) and Diploma in Project Management from George Washington University.

He also participated in the Ericsson Management Development Programme and was Global Automation champion for Ericsson Sub Saharan Africa.


Akin Alayoku – CTO, Smile Communications Limited

Alayoku became CTO of Smile Communications in September 2017. Before then, he had worked as Director of Operations at Waters, and Principal Consultant at K.A Primewater.

Akin Alayoku - Chief Technical Officer - Smile Communications ...

His technical experience in the telecoms sector started with four years spent at Celtel Nigeria (now known as AIrtel Nigeria), where he was Supervisor, BSS Maintenance and Manager Network Maintenance, for two years each.
He subsequently spent over 6 years in MTN Nigeria, starting as Senior Manager, Network Region Coordination, then he became General Manager, Regional Operations, and finally, General Manager, Core Network Operations.

His input at the time was quite invaluable and helped position MTN Nigeria as the number one network operator in the country. Simply put, he was instrumental in bringing the ‘MTN, everywhere you go’ vision to life.

Akin bagged his first degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Ilorin, Kwara state, and Masters Degree in International Management from the University of Liverpool.

He has participated in several management programs, including Leading Strategic Growth and Change, and Finance and Accounting for non-Finance Executives, both at Columbia Business school, and the Risk Management for Corporate Leaders at the Harvard Business School.


Charles Oluwaseun Oluboyo – Chief Technical Architect (CTA), ipNX Limited

Oluwaseun Oluboyo is the man in charge of maintaining the technical infrastructure and architecture at ipNX limited. He assumed this position in 2014.

Before that time, he was Senior Manager, Research and Development, controlling the infrastructure services units, and new product lines in ipNX.

His experience in ipNX spans the last 15 years, in different positions. He was Manager, Media Hosting for about a year, and the Team Lead and Head of Unit, Media Hosting for another two years. He was also Software and Systems Engineer between 2004 and 2006.

Charles Oluwaseun Oluboyo

Oluboyo is experienced in building core back-end systems, data center operations, and unified communications product lines, the development, and integration of software applications, as well as offering back-end support for extensions to the wireless product line.

He holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Ilorin, and has also attended different developer administrator training programs.


Note: This article does not include the CTOs of Globacom Nigeria and 9mobile Nigeria, as there is no source to confirm the occupants of these positions. Both companies have not tendered recent financial reports with the NSE, neither do their websites provide answers to these questions.

Ruth Okwumbu has a MSc. and BSc. in Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and Delta state university respectively. Prior to her role as analyst at Nairametrics, she had a progressive six year writing career. As a Business Analyst with Narametrics, she focuses on profiles of top business executives, founders, startups and the drama surrounding their successes and challenges. You may contact her via [email protected]

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Profiles

Tayo Oviosu, the journey from Software Engineer to Pagatech

Our focus for this week’s profile is Tayo Oviosu, founder and CEO of notable payment solutions provider, Pagatech.

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Tayo Oviosu, the journey from Software Engineer to Pagatech

Global trends in recent times have shown a shift towards a cashless and digital economy, especially as it becomes more obvious that operations in physical branches of commercial banks can be summarily shut down when circumstances demand it.

Our focus for this week’s profile is Tayo Oviosu, founder and CEO of a notable payment solutions provider, Pagatech, the startup that blazed the trail for others in the space. Though there are now over 200 fintech players, Paga still holds its ground.

READ: Paga records over $2 billion worth of transactions in 2019 

READ: Pagatech secures exclusive partnership deal with Orange Mall

Early years

Eyitayo David Oviosu was born on September 10, 1977, and acquired both his primary and secondary education in Nigeria. He left for the United States of America in 1994 and bagged his first degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California in 1998. He later earned a Masters in Business Administration from the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University from 2003 to 2005.

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Schooling was not a smooth ride for Tayo as he had to work his way through, sometimes keeping as much as 5 jobs in order to stay afloat. He also had hard times with courses like Semiconductor Chip Design, which he admitted was one of his toughest courses, as he hardly aced it despite his love for the subject.

READ: Paga acquires Ethiopian-based startup, Apposit, announces other subsidiaries

Attempting to break a rock

Fresh out of school, he opted to take the same Semiconductor Chip Design as a career option in Biomorphic VLSI, a startup of 8 employees, hoping to get better at it with more practice. The young Tayo worked weekdays and weekends trying to get a hang of the task before him.

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“I was allowed to design a digital imaging chip that got sent to Taiwan for fabrication. I had tested this thing numerous times in the lab; I was confident it was going to work. Then the fabricated chip comes back and it doesn’t work. I was devastated, we spent a lot of money shipping between Los Angeles and Taiwan,” he once recounted.

READ: Contracts less than N5 billion will no longer be awarded to foreign firms – FG

Having caused the company to spend so much for nothing, he was fired from the job.

“I got called into my boss’ office and he told me he had to let me go. I cried right there. This was my first job out of college and barely 3 months in,” he said.

Though unhappy at the time, he later came to appreciate how the job loss pointed him in the right career path and pushed him out of a line where he would have continued struggling to keep up. In the subsequent months, he survived on the unemployment benefits he collected from the state of California, before getting a job in a mail-room and then a call center.

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READ: Nigerian startup, Green Africa to sign deal with Airbus for 100 aircraft.

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He eventually got a job as a Software Engineer for another startup in Los Angeles, before he moved to Deloitte Consulting in the CRM and Technology practice as a Senior Consultant.

After his MBA, he worked as Manager Corporate Development with Cisco Systems in San Jose California, where he was responsible for strategy, acquisitions, and private equity investments in a few segments and led Cisco’s investment expansion in Africa with investment opportunities. He became Vice President at Travant Capital Partners in Lagos upon his return to Nigeria and remained there till 2009.

READ: Bitfxt raises N5.45 billion from UK firm

Moving towards a cashless economy

In 2009, Tayo founded Pagatech as a mobile payments solution focused on digitizing cash amidst new emerging economies. Even while working at the call center, Tayo had always thought that he would return to Nigeria at some point to help make it great again. For Tayo, founding Pagatech was all about addressing two challenges – the excessive use of cash, and limited financial access in Nigeria. He wanted to help Nigerians pay retailers, make purchases, and pay utility bills without having to handle so much money.

Such innovation was not common at the time, as Nigeria was still very far from toeing the lines of a cashless economy.

READ: FRC orders banks not to lend money to states without approval

Having worked for over a decade, Tayo had saved up some money and had the support of friends, which became instrumental in launching Paga. “I was also creative in terms of how I spent the money. I pooled together people to work in different aspects, most of them friends who were doing it as a favor. Everyone who helped us in the early days got paid below the market rate. Some of them stayed on to work with Paga when we could afford to pay them at market rates,” he recalled.

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For the first 6 months, Tayo bootstrapped from his personal funds before setting out to raise funds from investors. It was a journey where he first had to show investors how feasible the business idea was before letting them in.

READ: Rich Bitcoin investor moved $175 million worth of BTC for just $0.84

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Some of the initial investors who took the risk to put their funds in were Goodwell Alitheia Capital, Tayo’s former bosses, both in Nigeria and Los Angeles, and some friends and relatives – the result of lots of goodwill built over the years.

Pagatech reached its first 1 million users within 2 years and since then, the number of its users has grown into tens of millions processing billions of dollars in transactions. Pagatech has also partnered with the apex bank (Central Bank of Nigeria) on the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities initiative (SANEF) to grow the reach of agents providing financial services to 500,000 in order to ramp up inclusion for all Nigerians.

READ: Scaling in Nigeria’s fashion industry is tough work – Ugo Monye 

Tayo Oviosu has now become an angel investor in other startups.

“When I look at my journey so far, I realize that we are here sitting on the back of 34 people and 6 institutions who took a bet on us on. So I similarly want to find ideas to invest in. I don’t have a lot of money but I want to find people who I can make those kinds of investments and bets as well,” he said.

He has dreams of dual-listing Paga on the NSE and NASDAQ in the nearest future.

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Profiles

Leo Stan Ekeh, the whiz who launched Nigeria’s first locally manufactured computers

Ekeh can be put in the bracket of visionaries who were quick to see that ICT would define the world in no distant time.  

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Leo Stan Ekeh

Rated as one of the top tech CEOs in Nigeria according to Ventures Africa, Leonard Stanley Ekeh has earned a name for himself through his contributions to Africa’s ICT space. With his tech start-ups dating back to the 80s, Ekeh can be put in the bracket of visionaries who saw that ICT would define the world in no distant time.

This week on Nairametrics Founders Profile, the spotlight is on Leo Stan Ekeh, as he is now popularly known.

Leo Stan Ekeh was born in Imo state on February 22, 1956 to a Dietician mum and Nurse dad. He had his early education in Owerri, and upon graduation from Holy Ghost College, Owerri, he emigrated to India where he obtained BSc. Economics from Punjab University.

READ: Start-up owners must believe in Nigeria to scale, says Ekeh, Zinox Boss

This step marked a turning point in his thought process, as he was exposed to the Indian economy which he described as ‘realistic’. He then shifted from his plans to own “the biggest transport company in Nigeria” and started thinking of more realistic business ideas, which would impact the Nigerian economy. He moved on to England where he bagged a Postgraduate degree in Risk Management at the Nottingham University.

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His return to Nigeria saw him spearhead the creation of several tech companies.

Task System Limited

This was Ekeh’s first start-up in Nigeria. The ICT solutions company commenced operations in 1989 to focus on desktop publishing and computer graphics. Over the last three decades, the company extended operations from Lagos to Port Harcourt and Abuja, implementing several ICT projects across the Oil & Gas, Telecoms, Manufacturing, and Public sectors.

The company has computerized 95 percent of Print media, Publishing houses, and Advertising agencies in Nigeria; with several outstanding industry awards to its credit, including Best Partner Award for Compaq, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard (HP) etc.

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READ: Ekeh, Zinox boss, may retire in 2021

Zinox Technologies Limited

ZInox Technologies is the brand which brought Ekeh to the forefront of Africa’s tech space and for which he is popular for. The company was founded in 2001 and became the first internationally certified branded computer OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) in West Africa.

In addition, Zinox is the first to receive Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) certification, and also the first computer hardware manufacturing company and ICT integration company in Nigeria to receive ISO 9001-2000.

Zinox creates business solutions that uses new technologies to streamline systems, efficiently align, integrate, and maximise productivity. Its products are renowned for their security and IT infrastructure. The company has helped to revolutionize the electoral processes in several African countries like Nigeria, The Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau.

Zinox is the only local OEM partner of Microsoft and Intel corporation in Nigeria. It was recently rated by International Data Corporation (IDC) as the No.1 brand in terms of computer sales amongst local and international brands in Nigeria.

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Ekeh also launched Zinox Computers – Nigeria’s first internationally certified branded computers, which comes with a Naira sign and a power supply designed to be compatible with the country’s unstable power supply.

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READ: Konga’s turnover increases by 800%, as company claims to be self-sufficient

Buyright Africa Dotcom Limited

In 2008, Ekeh founded Buyright Africa Dotcom Limited at a time when credit card and e-payment infrastructures were still alien to Nigerians. The target of the start-up was to resolve funding issues for ICT projects and companies, through partnerships with strong international finance groups.

Within the next couple of years, Buyright Africa launched full operation to help Africans enjoy the benefits of emerging technologies and build technology strength that would allow her citizens, governments, and businesses compete favourably with other strong economies of the world.

Buyright Africa executes and funds ICT projects, equipment leasing, ownership scheme and other related ideas in Africa. It also offers ICT consultancy services and sales of ICT products, infrastructures, and digital tools to educational institutions and governments, through its partnership with international and local ICT companies.

Describing the vision, Mr. Mukoro Emomine, Managing Director of Buyright Africa said the company was out to work with manufacturers, in order to reduce the total cost of ownership of ICT equipment in Africa and also encourage usage.

READ: N75 billion Nigerian Youth Investment Fund to be rolled out before end of October – Minister

Konga.com

Konga.com was founded in July 2012 by Sim Shagaya as a third-party online marketplace, and a first-party direct retail in various categories of consumer goods and products.

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In February 2018, Zinox acquired 99% of Konga.com shares just a few months after Konga laid off over half its staff. Three months later, Konga merged with Zinox’s retail outfit – Yudala to form the biggest e-commerce company in Africa. Under the new merger, the brand name Konga was retained.

Other businesses

Leo Stan Ekeh also founded Technology Distribution Limited, Task Direct Limited and ITEC Solutions, using them to drive IT solutions and distribution in West Africa.

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He has also been involved with ICT Brokers, and ICT Connect. News recently made the rounds that Ekeh was the man behind the Healthplus takeover, but Ekeh distanced himself from such rumours,

“Till date, I do not have a kobo share in any of their investment vehicles, including a kobo share in Healthplus. Although, everyone has a right to invest in any company of his or her choice.”

CSR initiatives and recognitions

In line with his interest and devotion to the growth of IT in Nigeria, Ekeh launched the Computerize Nigeria Project in August 2000, to encourage development and sensitize Nigerians in the use of computers. He also launched the CANi Scheme, providing laptops to young Nigerians at a reduced price, with a repayment plan spread across 24 months.

Through his charity organisation, Leo Stan Ekeh Foundation, he has carried out other commendable humanitarian and philanthropic donations across the country.

He was bestowed with the ICON of Hope award by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on October 1, 2002; Nigerian Science & Technology Achiever of the Year 2003; and Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (OFR) in 2004. Ekeh is also a member of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, and holds Life Membership, Nigeria Institute of International Affairs.

He holds Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from Imo State University, Owerri; Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi; and Federal University of Technology, Owerri and University of Jos. He is a Fellow of the Lagos State Polytechnic, Lagos; Federal Polytechnic, Idah; and Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Imo State.

Only 64 years old, Leo Stan Ekeh is still going strong and there is no telling what sector he might venture into next. He recently called for the declaration of a Tech Independence Day, and confidently said it is only a matter of time before Nigeria starts raising tech billionaires that would rival the likes of Jeff Bezos and Jack Ma.

Ekeh was worth $1 billion as of June, 2018 according to Business Insider by Pulse.ng.

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Profiles

Apple’s CEO’s package has totaled over $963.5 million since 2011

Tim Cook’s package has risen to close to a billion dollar in close to a decade.

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U.S stock futures trade flat, Apple regains $2 trillion market value, Apple iPhone 11, Tax battle: Apple challenges $14 billion court case , Apple to pay $500 million settlement in lawsuit over slow iPhones, Apple supplier Foxconn to reopen manufacturing base in China, Apple donates 10 million face masks to healthcare workers, App developers can now challenge Apple store guidelines 

Since 2011, when Tim Cook became CEO of Apple, his package has totaled over $963.5 million, according to an estimate from Equilar, an executive compensation firm.

Apple’s CEO collected his largest stock grant since 2011, which will reward him with large stacks of stocks through 2025, according to an SEC filing released yesterday.

Apple’s CEO will collect 333,987 units of restricted stock, that will vest as to one-third of the units, on an annual basis starting on April 1, 2023.

READ: Nestle’s parent company increases stakes in Nestle Nigeria in August

In a separate package, Cook will also vest 333,987 units of stock in 2023, which could double, if he meets targets related to Apple’s performance on the stock market.

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If Apple continues to impress as it is presently, Cook will collect 1,001,961 shares of Apple by 2025, similar to the grant of 1 million shares he received shortly after he became CEO in 2011.

READ: Nigerians in diaspora reveal their favourite Nigerian Stocks 

Why Apple is doing well?

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  • Recall, about two months ago, Nairametrics gave vital insights on why global investors and stock traders are placing more bets in growth stocks like Apple, thereby resulting in their astronomical rise in valuations, in spite of COVID-19.
  • These companies also have good macros in their businesses, partly due to low debts, high-profit margins, and the fact that more people are isolated and mostly working remotely on their iPhones and Macbooks.
  • Cook, 59, disclosed five years ago, that he plans to give most of his fortunes away. Already, he has gifted millions of dollars’ worth of Apple shares. His wealth could be lower, assuming he has made other undisclosed charitable gifts.

READ: App developers can now challenge Apple store guidelines 

Although if the world’s most valuable tech company underperforms, it’s also possible that the CEO will get none of such rewards.

At Tuesday’s closing price of $114.09, the maximum number of shares Cook could receive are worth $114 million. That amount will rise or fall with Apple’s stock price.

Tim has brought unparalleled innovation and focus to his role as CEO, and demonstrated what it means to lead with values and integrity,” Apple’s Board of Directors said in a statement.

READ: This is what you get if you buy the latest FGN Reopening Bond

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”For the first time in nearly a decade, we are awarding Tim a new stock grant, that will vest over time, in recognition of his outstanding leadership, and with great optimism for Apple’s future as he carries these efforts forward,” it stated.

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The stock grant suggests that Cook’s performance over the past decade is viewed highly by Apple’s board, which wants to make sure that he will be paid competitively through 2025, if he continues to be the CEO of Apple.

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