Arabic: نجيب ساويرس
Born: June 15, 1954
Naguib Sawiris is a telecom tycoon and prominent Coptic Christian. He is the executive chairman of Orascom Telecom Holding, a major telecommunications company. Sawiris was listed in Forbes magazine as the 374th richest person in the world.
Sawiris joined Orascom in 1979 and established the railway, information technology, and telecommunications sectors of Orascom. He launched Egypt’s first mobile telephone operator in 1998 and two satellite television channels in 2007.
Sawiris was a vocal proponent of Egypt’s January 25 Revolution, appearing on TV shows as well as in person to voice his support of the demonstrators. He was a member of the Council of Wise Men, where he helped negotiate between the government and the protestors.
He has been an advocate of religious equality, dismissing the segregation and differentiation between Muslims and Christians. He funded a campaign calling for a “no” vote in the March 2011 referendum on constitutional amendments. He is active in a number of other political organizations.
In April 2011, Sawiris announced the launch of the liberal ‘Free Egyptians Party,’ stating that he will not head the party. Instead, he will serve on its board of wise men. He has also been explicit in saying the party is not a Coptic Christian party but is open to all Egyptians.