Wednesday Sep 21, 2022

Ep. 13 - ’It’s naive to think that you have something recession proof,’ says Afonso Salema – Great Business Minds

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Great Business Minds podcast, the definitive show for the business of digital infrastructure.

I’m your host Joao Marques Lima and I use my experience as a digital infrastructure journalist to dig deep into business issues but also get to know those who build our digital world.

Great Business Minds is brought to you by Portman Partners, the premier executive search firm for the digital infrastructure industry.  With 50+ years of experience, no other firm can match their knowledge, discretion, and connections with the best top-level talent in the sector. Are you seeking great business minds for your digital infrastructure business? Contact Portman Partners at

This week we are joined by someone who I have been waiting to chat for a long time, not only for what he is building at the moment and where, but also for his slightly unusual background when compared to other data centre executives.

From Portugal, Afonso Salema is heading one of Europe’s largest data centre capital deployments as its chief executive. With a price tag of US$4.2 billion US Dollars, Start Campus’ project in Sines aims to create one of the largest European data centres and redesign how colocation and hosting is done.

In this episode we delve into Start Campus and the ins and outs of the venture and much more.

For background information, Afonso has a degree in Industrial Engineering and Management from Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon and has spent 15 years in investment banking in London, New York and Madrid, covering the renewable energy, energy and infrastructure sectors, having briefly worked for EDP between 2009 and 2011.

This deep dive into capital markets around the energy segment has given the executive an interesting advantage in the climate transition that every data centre operator is facing today as well as an exposure to different market challenges.

In this episode of GBM, we cover this as well as current topics around data centres becoming a utility, the looming economic recession and how the sector should not ignore the warning bells of Wall Street, and how to navigate the backlash against data centre developments in different geographies due to land, power or water usage.

Here at the GBM podcast, we hope you enjoy this episode and do leave us a review and share it with your contacts. We invite you back again for the next episode with another big name in the digital infrastructure space.

If you want to get more from the definitive podcast for the business of digital infrastructure, make sure you subscribe to Great Business Minds.

See you soon!




This episode features our commercial partner Portman Partners, the leading executive search firm working exclusively in the digital infrastructure sector. Visit for more information.




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