Alex Okosi, Senior Vice President & Managing Director of African multimedia powerhouse Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) Africa (formerly MTV Networks Africa), has been named by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as a 2013 Young Global Leader (YGL).
The Young Global Leader award is an honour bestowed by the World Economic Forum each year to recognise the most distinguished leaders under the age of 40, nominated from around the world.
A nomination is described by the WEF as “…recognition of your record of professional accomplishments, your commitment to society and your potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world through your inspiring leadership”.
Okosi was named by the Selection Committee, chaired by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which screened thousands of potential young leaders from every region of the world and from a myriad of disciplines and sectors.
Okosi will become an active member of The Forum of Young Global Leaders, a global network of peers from diverse backgrounds and fields, with the goal of significantly impacting world affairs and shaping the global agenda. To achieve its mission, the FYGL acts as a platform for young leaders to be both a voice for the future in global thought processes and a catalyst for joint action when appropriate. Together, its community members form a powerful international force for the global common good.
Commented Okosi, “I am very proud to have been named by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader and look forward to working with my peers in the Forum of Young Global Leaders to ensure that African affairs, issues and ideas are key priorities for action on the global agenda.”
Okosi, a Nigerian, is based in Johannesburg where he heads Viacom International Media Networks’ pan-African business operations. He is responsible for managing the growth and development of VIMN's iconic kids, youth, music, comedy and general entertainment brands on the African continent, including MTV, MTV Base, VH1 Classic, BET International, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. The channels’ collective footprint reaches 52 territories in sub-Saharan Africa, serving over 100 million viewers via DTH, DTT, CATV, IPTV and terrestrial branded block broadcast services, and three dynamic online destinations (www.mtvbase.com, www.nick.com and www.comedycentralafrica.com).
Okosi joined MTV Networks in 1998 and spent his first two years with the MTV Integrated Marketing team in New York before moving to Los Angeles to work within the MTV Networks Affiliate Sales & Marketing division where he secured key distribution deals for MTV Network brands including MTV2 and CMT among others. During his time with the Affiliate Sales and Marketing team, Okosi was also pursuing his MBA at UCLA. In 2003, he joined the MTV Networks International Strategy and Business Development division based in London to pursue his ambition for MTV in Africa. Okosi developed the business plan for MTV Base, MTV’s first localised television service for Africa and, in 2005, launched the channel as MTV Networks’ 100th channel.
A staunch champion of African music, kids’ and youth culture, Okosi is committed to creating programming, events and initiatives that showcase African talent and creativity. In November 2008, he launched the first ever MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMA) in Abuja, Nigeria, saluting and celebrating contemporary African music and artists. A tireless supporter of initiatives that motivate, empower and educate Africa’s youth, Okosi has been the driving force behind pro-social campaigns that have impacted the social and cultural landscape of urban Africa. These include Choose or Lose, (a youth voter mobilisation campaign – 2011 Nigerian elections); MTV Base Meets (an initiative in which global influencers exchanged ideas with young Africans); MTV Making the Video (in which international video directors trained African film-makers and elevated the quality of music videos in Africa through skill transfer workshops); and Shuga (an award winning TV drama and multimedia campaign designed to change sexual behaviour among young Kenyans).
Okosi attended St Michael’s College, Vermont, USA, on a full basketball scholarship and graduated magna cum laude with a double major in Business Administration and Economics.