Yasir Azman: The Visionary Behind Nation’s Largest Mobile Network

Yasir Azman The Visionary Behind Nation's Largest Mobile Network

Yasir Azman is the CEO of Grameenphone, the largest mobile network operator in Bangladesh. With almost 80 million subscribers, Grameenphone is a leader in the telecommunications industry in Bangladesh and a major contributor to the country’s economic growth. Mr. Azman is known for his extensive experience in the telecommunications sector, having worked in various leadership positions in the industry for over 17 years. He has a proven track record as a leader in transformation, change management, and business development, making him a valuable asset to Grameenphone and the industry as a whole.

Early Life

Yasir Azman was born and raised in Dhanmondi, Dhaka. His father, Saleh Chowdhury, was a journalist who worked for Dainik Bangla until his retirement and served as the president of the Commonwealth Association for Journalists. He completed his secondary education at Kakoli High School and higher secondary education at Dhaka College. He then received his Bachelor of Commerce degree from National University. During the 1997-1999 academic session, Mr. Azman earned his Master of Business Administration degree from the Institution of Business Administration (IBA) at Dhaka University. After completing his MBA, he gained professional experience by working at various companies. Mr. Azman also attended several executive education programs with the London Business School and INSEAD, France.

Initial Worklife

While pursuing an MBA at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Yasir Azman and several of his peers established a small technology and education-focused company called Maverick. At the time, hardware and data entry were the dominant technological trends. The startup was run alongside their studies and was a significant challenge due to the demanding nature of the IBA program. Despite these limitations, Maverick experienced success. Mr. Azman considers the experience of starting Maverick as one of the most valuable in his career, providing him with valuable insights into managing people, office operations, and sales.

Subsequently, Mr. Azman joined ANZ Grindlays Bank in mid-1999, starting as an intern before being promoted to officer. However, he did not stay long and joined American Tobacco Bangladesh (BATB) in September 1999, serving in the sales, distribution, and trade marketing department until 2004. He then participated in an exchange program with Pakistan Tobacco Company among the Asian OpCos for three months. Upon his return, he assumed the role of Marketing Planning Manager. 

Journey Into Grameenphone Ltd.

In 2007, Yasir Azman joined Grameenphone as the Head of Distribution and Logistics. He played a leading role in setting up the Grameenphone Sales and Distribution organization and transforming the Company’s distribution structure. He then participated in the executive program at London Business School and in May 2009, returned to Grameenphone as the Director of Sales and Distribution. In this role, he was responsible for overseeing more than 2,000 sales executives and managing the company’s retail chain, direct sales, and account management. After a year and a half, Mr. Azman was promoted to the position of Executive Vice President and Circle Business Head for the Orissa Region at Uninor India, where he received recognition for his excellent performance and was promoted to Executive Vice President and Circle Business Head of the Karnataka Region. Afterward, he was appointed as the Group Head of Distribution and E-Business Markets and Vice President of Global Uninor at Telenor’s headquarters in Oslo, Norway, where he oversaw operations in various countries.

In June 2015, Mr. Azman returned to Grameenphone as the Chief Marketing Officer, bringing with him a wealth of experience and a successful career progression. As CMO, he played a part in guiding Grameenphone toward a high-performing and digital-centric organization. Prior to his appointment as a CEO, he also served as the Deputy CEO. In May 2017, he was promoted to the position of CEO, becoming the first Bangladeshi CEO of Grameenphone. 

Yazir Azman’s Career At A Glance

  • 1999
    • Completed MBA from Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka
    • Joined ANZ Grindlays Bank as an intern. 
    • Joined British American Tobacco Bangladesh (BATB) in September
  • 2004
    • Went To Pakistan Tobacco Company (PTC) under an exchange program 
  • 2005
    • Returned To Bangladesh and was reassigned as Marketing Planning Manager in BATB. 
  • 2007
    • Joined Grameenphone as Head of Distribution and Logistics
  • 2009
    • Participated in Strategic Marketing Program at London Business School
  • 2009
    • Appointed as a Director at the Sales & Distribution Division of Grameenphone
  • 2010
    • Promoted to work in Telenor India operations as EVP & Circle Business Head for Orissa, then Karnataka circles
  • 2013
    • Participated in the Executive Development Program at INSEAD, France 
  • 2013
    • Promoted as Telenor Group’s Head of Distribution & eBusiness and worked across all Telenor Operations
  • 2015
    • Started serving Grameenphone as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)
  • 2017
    • Promoted as Deputy Chief Executive Officer (DCEO)
  • 2020
    • Appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and became the first Bangladeshi CEO of Grameenphone since its inception
Yasir Azman infographics

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