Telenor picks Asian chief Brekke as new CEO

  • Business
  • Wednesday, 13 May 2015

OSLO: Norwegian mobile phone group Telenor appointed Sigve Brekke, the head of its Asian operations, to take over as chief executive from August 17, when Jon Fredrik Baksaas retires after 13 years atop the firm, it said.

Brekke, who joined Telenor in 1999, ran the firm’s successful Asian business, where he led a fast-growing operation with units in a half dozen countries.

Asia is now well ahead of Europe in terms of subscribers, Telenor said.

“Under Brekke's leadership, Telenor has added more than 100 million subscribers in Asia.

“The value creation from Asia has been significant and the region now represents more than 40% of the total enterprise value of Telenor Group,” the company said in a statement.

Telenor, which has over 190 million subscribers across Europe and Asia, launched in Myanmar last year where it has outperformed all expectations in revenue, market share and profitability. But its Indian business remains a headache, generating an operating loss years after its launch.

Brekke will receive a base salary of 5.9 million crowns (US$780,000), an unusually low figure for a firm with a market capitalisation of US$37bil, but in line with Norway’s tradition of modest wages at state-controlled companies. His biggest immediate headache will be devising a strategy for its investment in Russia-focused Vimpelcom, which is facing a corruption probe. Norway has an especially low tolerance for corruption. — Reuters

Telenor, which holds 33 % of the economic interests in Vimpelcom and 43 % of the voting rights, said it would be keen to sell the stake but the time was not right for an exit.— Reuters

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