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Augie K. Fabela II

Augie K Fabela II was born in 1966 in Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Fabela developed his entrepreneurial spirit early in life establishing his first business, a neighborhood newspaper delivery route, at the age of 13, and working in his father’s engineering business from the age of 15.

Following his graduation from Stanford University in 1987 receiving a Masters degree in International Policy Studies and a Bachelors degree in International Relations, both of which he completed in four years, Mr. Fabela spent two years working in Tokyo for Japan's largest mass media conglomerate, Fujisankei Group, before returning to the United States to start his own international businesses at the age of 22. 

Over the next few years, he founded and led several successful businesses as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, including Maestro, an international marketing consulting company, TDF Corp, an information technology consulting company, SIGMA, an variable workforce employment agency, and a technology private investment company, FGI Wireless Ltd. He became Chairman of Plexsys International (a.k.a. Comsat RSI Wireless), an American mobile infrastructure equipment manufacturer, after a leveraged buyout (LBO) acquisition of the company together with his father.

At the invitation of MAK Vimpel, a Russian defense contractor, Mr. Fabela visited the Soviet Union in October 1991. It was during this period that he saw a significant opportunity for wireless communication in Russia. It was also when he met his future partner in Dr. Dmitri B. Zimin, a senior scientist at the Radio Technical Institute, a division of MAK Vimpel. Inspired, against all odds, to do what many said couldn't be done, Mr. Fabela and Dr. Zimin set out to accomplish their vision of building a start-up wireless communications company in Russia from the ground up, starting with thirteen employees. A young American entrepreneur who was only 25 years old and spoke no Russian, and a 60 year old Russian scientist who spoke no English, were determined to build an independent company with an entrepreneurial and pioneering spirit--which emerged with the founding of VimpelCom in 1992. 

One year after its founding, VimpelCom launched its first test commercial network, a five base station system covering all of Moscow, and Mr. Fabela purposefully limited sales to only 1,000 mobile phones in order to ensure a high quality of service. The commercial service was launched under the Beeline brand, a brand Mr. Fabela created in late 1993 to differentiate the company as youthful and fun, rather than stodgy and technical--a brand that would eventually be valued by BusinessWeek/InterBrand at US$8 billion in 2007.

During the early years, Mr. Fabela devoted himself to VimpelCom’s development, serving as Chief Operating Officer and then as Chairman. His expertise in marketing, customer care and finance were central to the Company’s early success and provided a legacy of excellence that continues today. 

In 1995, Mr. Fabela and Dr. Zimin made the decision to take VimpelCom public on the New York Stock Exchange. One year later, the initial public offering took place, with VimpelCom becoming the first Russian company to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange and also being the first mobile communications firm to list on the NYSE. Mr. Fabela became the youngest Chairman of any NYSE listed company, at the age of 30. In the years that followed, Mr. Fabela led the teams that consummated multiple ground-breaking capital markets and M&A transactions, including the US$200 million equity investments into VimpelCom by Telenor in 1998 and US$200 million equity investment by Alfa Group in 2000.

Mr. Fabela was named the Company’s Chairman Emeritus after stepping down as Chairman in 2002 to dedicate time to his family. In his role of Chairman Emeritus, he has continued to be an active and valued advisor to the Company’s management and Board, providing guidance and insight on the strategic directions VEON has taken.  

Mr. Fabela continues to be an innovator in business policy and governance, serving as a member of the World Economic Forum and a Founding Member of its Global Chairman Community.

Mr. Fabela is a devoted philanthropist and civic contributor. He and his wife founded the Fabela Family Foundation, a charity that supports law enforcement programs, early childhood education and Christian initiatives; and he is an advisor to the Dmitri B. Zimin Foundation. As part of his civic contributions, Mr. Fabela became a certified U.S. police officer, spending a year at and graduating from the Illinois NEMERT Police Academy in 2011. Mr. Fabela currently serves as Special Advisor to the Sheriff, with the rank of Chief in the Cook County Sheriff’s Office in Chicago, Illinois and as Winthrop Harbor Police Commander of Special Operations, overseeing the SWAT Unit and the AirOne Search and Rescue Helicopter Unit Special Operations.

As the American Founder of VEON (former VimpelCom), Mr. Fabela continues to lead and inspire the Pioneering Spirit that is in the DNA of our Company, personifying our key values of being customer-obsessed, entrepreneurial, innovative, collaborative and truthful.



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