Liquid Telecom South Africa recently announced that Reshaad Sha was its new CEO.
Sha is a young CEO, and his age hides the fact that he is a highly-experienced telecoms executive who has served as a C-level executive and board member for nearly a decade.
Before joining Liquid Telecom, he was the CEO of IoT operator SqwidNet, the Chief Strategy Officer at DFA, and a director at SA Digital Villages and MCT Telecommunications.
Sha also served as the managing director at Blackbridge, and as a strategy director at Cisco’s IBSG division.
Sha’s early career
Reshaad Sha was born in Durban and attended Grove-End Secondary School in Phoenix, where he grew up.
While growing up, Sha had a keen interest in software systems – which was behind his decision to study Information Technology at the Durban Institute of Technology.
“I recall that in high school we needed to submit projects which were functioning systems that we had to program for our computer studies exams,” said Sha.
He did not have a personal computer at home and had to rent one for two weeks to complete his project.
“I worked around the clock to finish my coding project which I had meticulously planned out in the months leading up to that point.”
After his tertiary studies, Sha was employed as a UNIX systems administrator at a manufacturing facility in Johannesburg, where he was paid R3,500 per month.
Moving to telecoms
In the late nineties, mobile telecommunications took off in Africa and Sha said he was attracted to the sector as it was dynamic, globally-scalable, and had the ability to impact the lives of people.
Sha became the telco services director at Protek, which provided him with a springboard into the telecommunication field.
“Besides the dynamism and international opportunities of telecoms, this move meant that impacting the lives of people aligned with my own objectives, which brought immense satisfaction to me,” he said.
How Sha reached the top
Sha credits his rapid rise to the top to four pillars:
- I obsess with understanding every detail of how companies operate and what impacts value creation. I then do my best to positively affect those variables that generated the most value and thus deliver the required results.
- I was exposed to many cultures and economies, from USA to Europe, throughout Africa, Russia, Turkey, Asia, and some of the Gulf states in the Middle East. This exposure allowed me to build a wealth of business context across emerging and developed economies.
- I spend an enormous amount of time learning. I am currently studying at Harvard Business School which provides an incredible learning experience in advanced management strategies in a 2-month residential programme.
- I had the opportunity to work with highly-talented and diverse groups of people who I was able to learn from to achieve the successes that we shared.
Sha’s tech and business choices
Which smartphone do you use?
iPhone X as a primary phone, and a Samsung S7 Batman Injustice Edition as secondary travel phone.
Which laptop do you use?
What is the best gadget you have ever bought?
What is the worst gadget you have ever bought?
What Internet connection do you have at home?
DFA Metro Ethernet (Magellan) 1Gbps with SEACOM Internet as a primary connect, and a Vox 100Mbps fibre connection as backup.
What is the best investment you have ever made?
What is the worst investment you have ever made?
Watching Breaking Bad.
What is the best business book you have ever read?
Barbarians at the Gate by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar.