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Africa datacentre industry heavyweight appointed to lead OADC

Dr Ayotunde Coker (left) welcomed by WIOCC Group CEO Chris Wood.
Dr Ayotunde Coker (left) welcomed by WIOCC Group CEO Chris Wood.

Transformational pan-African datacentre operator Open Access Data Centres (OADC) has appointed African datacentre industry leader Dr Ayotunde Coker as its CEO, with immediate effect.

According to OADC Dr Coker will drive the company’s objective to support and accelerate Africa’s digital transformation “by constructing and operating a pan-African network of world-class, client-centric, Tier III certified datacentre facilities and a unique core-to-edge open-access edge datacentre ecosystem, comprising hyperscale, regional and OADC Edge DCs.”

A statement confirming the appointment reads: “Nigerian-born Dr Coker brings with him more than 35 years of international experience across Europe, USA, Asia and Africa.”

“For the last eight years he has been CEO and Managing Director of Rack Centre, building it into a household name in West Africa and a leading data centre brand in Africa, with global recognition and numerous international awards. Prior to that, he worked as MD/CEO of Emerging Markets Payments, West Africa, repositioning the business as a top brand in its market, and before that as Group CIO of Access Bank. His distinguished 28-year career in the UK included roles at Ford, Cap Gemini, eMCSaatchi UK, Egg Bank, British Petroleum and the UK Ministry of Justice.”

Dr Ayotunde Coker.
Dr Ayotunde Coker.

Commenting on his appointment, Dr Coker said, “This is a dynamic period for businesses in Africa, with transformation driving rapid expansion of the continent’s digital infrastructure. I am excited to be joining OADC, which is set to play a huge role in establishing and growing the pan-African digital infrastructure and cloud ecosystem that will underpin this expansion - supporting cloud operators, content providers, the wholesale community and major enterprises in extending their reach and operations across the continent. I am delighted to be leading OADC in transforming Africa’s digital capabilities, driving its deployment of a network and vibrant ecosystems of world-class, open-access digital infrastructure at strategic interconnection points throughout the continent. An opportunity for Africa to leapfrog the world.”

Chris Wood, WIOCC Group CEO, added, “I am absolutely delighted to welcome Tunde as CEO of Open Access Data Centres at this critical period in the company’s development. Having secured $200m in funding at the end of 2021, we are now engaged in transforming Africa’s digital infrastructure with the most extensive deployment ever in Africa of open-access national, regional and edge data centres. Tunde’s depth and breadth of experience and leadership, together with his stature and contacts in the African data centre industry will, I’m sure, be instrumental in ensuring the company’s success.“

Dr Coker earned a Shell sponsored Mechanical Engineering degree at University of South Wales and is a Ford of Europe sponsored post graduate alumni of Cranfield University which presented him the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2020.

With numerous business leadership awards, he is the current President of the Africa Data Centres Association and served as Chair of the UK Government Enterprise Architecture Board.

Dr Coker has elected to be based in Lagos, Nigeria, the location of OADC’s newest Tier III open-access datacentre on the largest datacentre campus in West Africa.

Continued investment

In November 2021 OADC announced a US$500-million multi-year investment programme to construct and operate “a network of more than 20 world-class, carrier-neutral, GreenStar and Uptime Institute Tier III accredited datacentres across Africa, optimised to serve the needs of the cloud provider and wholesale community.”

This follows recent news that the wholesale network infrastructure firm WIOCC Holding Company Limited had created the new datacentre firm and completed a US$200-million debt and equity capital raise, to be used to expand its operation.

According to a statement released to the media, OADC, a WIOCC Group company, will deploy datacentre facilities “strategically” throughout the continent, focusing on key locations for connectivity in each country “… and with each delivering an exceptional client experience - from initial contact to consultative development and deployment of future-proof solutions tailored to clients’ specific needs and to world-class, ISO-certified standards.”

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