Telenor’s chairman, Harald Norvik, is quitting the company following criticism from Norway’s trade and industry minister over the sale of a TV subsidiary.
Norvik, chairman since end-May 2007, says he took the decision after trade minister Trond Giske criticized the sale of TV2 to a Danish firm in January. Norway’s government is the majority shareholder in Telenor, and is apparently unhappy the TV station is now in foreign ownership.
“The minister of trade and industry…today expressed a lack of confidence in the chairman of Telenor…I have therefore decided to step down,” Norvik explained in a statement.
Despite announcing his resignation, Norvik will remain in the hot seat until Telenor’s board elects a successor – a move likely to come after the firm reports first quarter results on May 8.
Local analysts are shocked by the decision, noting that the sale of TV2 seems a small matter compared to Telenor’s recent problems in India, the Wall Street Journal reports. The operator this week revealed it is writing down its assets in the Uninor joint venture, after India’s government revoked its 2G licenses.