VimpelCom, Russia's third largest operator by subscribers, which is in the process of merging with Wind Telecom, has announced major changes in its management personnel beginning with the replacement of Alexander Isozimov with Jo Lunder as CEO.
Isozimov, who has been largely credited with pushing through the Wind deal despite opposition, will step down June 30. Lunder, who is currently chairman of the supervisory board will take over, while his position will go to Augie K. Fabela II (co-founder and chairman emeritus of VimpelCom).
Isozimov is leaving on a high having finalised the Wind deal, which will double Vimpelcom's subscriber base to 181 million across 20 countries. However, he is leaving a company in transition, and Lunder will have a major task ahead to integrate all the various parts and complete the reorganisation announced with the completion of the Wind deal.
To do this he will have a new management team ,including Ahmed Abou Doma from Orascom, who will head up the Asia and Africa business unit, as well as Wind's Ossama Bessada, who has been appointed group executive vice president and head of the Europe and North America business unit. Philip Tohme, previously Wind's Group CTO, has been appointed group CTO, while his colleague Romano Righetti will head of the group's regulatory board.
Lunder is an established figure at VimpelCom, having served as CEO and COO of OJSC VimpelCom at various times between 1999 and 2003. However, according to a VTB Capital research note cited in Russia's state news agency RIA Novosti, Lunder is a compromise candidate between shareholders Alfa and Telenor. He is a seen as safe pair of hands, and someone who will not rock the boat in the same way that Isozimov has at times, not least with the Wind merger.
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