A rather big changing of the guard at the GSMA, the global mobile trade association that runs several big trade events, including the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It has appointed Anne Bouverot as its new director general, replacing Rob Conway, who had headed the organization for twelve years.
Bouverot comes from mobile operator Orange, part of France Telecom (NYSE: FTE), where her most recent role has been EVP for mobile services across the group. She has held other positions, for example in Orange Business Services (formerly Equant); and for the last two years represented France Telecom on the GSMA board. She will be taking up her new post on September 1.
Although Rob Conway holds the title of CEO, Bouverot will be, in effect, a direct replacement but with a new title. This is because the Chairman, Franco Bernabe, thought “director general” sounded more relevant for an association with many members, according to the GSMA’s inhouse blog.
With Bouverot, the GSMA is getting a sharp leader who has had very direct and recent experience negotiating the challenges and opportunities for mobile operators today.
In her time at Orange, Bouverot was closely involved in areas like NFC trials (where Orange has been a bit of a trailblazer); looking for ways of implementing new platforms like Windows Phone 7 to better leverage operator services like billing (a place where they have missed the boat on other platforms like iOS); pushing out three-screen services with France Telecom (mobile, PC and TV) and even rolling out new, own-brand tablets in partnership with Huawei.
Not all of those initiatives have worked out, but even that could end up being a strong force in how she ends up leading this large, many-headed beast.
I interviewed Bouverot back in February — appropriately enough at the MWC show in Barcelona, which you can watch to get a little more of a sense of her: