He was executive chairman of the telecommunications companies Wind Telecom and Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH) before turning to politics in May 2011. OTH launched the first mobile operator in Egypt, Mobinil in 1998.
OTH has 20,000 employees and manages 11 GSM operators around the world. In the beginning, OTH’s strategy was to target underpenetrated high population markets. However, soon after it started to pursue more developed markets, with the launch of Wind Mobile by Globalive, its Canadian subsidiary in December 2009. Moreover, OTH launched Koryolink, the first mobile operator in North Korea in 2008.
Naguib Onsi Sawiris is considered a nationalist and supporter of liberalism. He favored a gradual transition during the 2011 Egyptian revolution and played as a mediating figure between the protesters and Hosni Mubarak's people. Although he expressed concerns about the military caretaker government he favored changes that increased democracy and stability. He is the founder of the liberal Free Egyptians Party. In 2009 Sawiris launched the Arabic-language ONTV television network, which has adopted a politically liberal stance and, in addition to its popular Ramadan serials, hosts two of the most-watched talk shows in Egypt, including Al Bernameg, a satirical news program hosted by Bassem Youssef, who has been compared to Jon Stewart.