Telenor Group announced that its operations in India and Bangladesh will have new CEOs from 1 December.
Vivek Sood will rejoin Uninor to become CEO after holding the same position at Grameenphone since January 2013. Owing to Sood’s departure from Grameenphone, Rajeev Sethi, Uninor’s current CMO, will move to the Bangladeshi operator to assume the CEO role.
Current Uninor CEO Morten Karlsen Sorby, who was appointed in January this year, is to step down for family reasons. He will assume a new role within Telenor Group and continue as an adviser to Uninor’s management until 1 January 2015.
Sigve Brekke, head of Telenor in Asia, said that both Grameenphone and Uninor are currently experiencing “significant market growth” and delivering on their ‘Internet for All’ strategy.
“With these executive changes, Telenor aims to stimulate further growth and strengthen our position with customers in these markets,” Brekke added.
Grameenphone is the largest mobile operator in Bangladesh, with 50.6 million connections at the end of the third quarter of 2014, according to GSMA Intelligence figures.
The next largest operator in Bangladesh is Global Telecom’s banglalink with 30.2 million connections. Bharti Airtel and Axiata also have a significant presence in the market.
Grameenphone has rolled out a 3G network across the country, following a drive to deploy the technology that started slightly more than a year ago.
More recently, the operator started to offer a device powered by Mozilla’s Firefox OS, which is said to mark “the first joint release of Mozilla’s low-cost, open web smartphones by a mobile operator in Asia”.
Uninor is a much smaller player in India, ranked eighth overall, with a total of 41.8 million connections at the end of the third quarter, according to GSMA Intrelligence. However, Telenor noted that the company is ranked fourth in many of the circles in which it operates and is continuing to increase market share.
Sorby’s appointment as Uninor CEO coincided with the announcement that the company had achieved cashflow breakeven for the first time, four years after operations had commenced.
The company had experienced significant upheaval, which ended when Telenor gained full ownership in October after completing its acquisition of the 26 per cent stake in its Indian venture held by Lakshdeep Investment & Finance.
Uninor was originally Telenor’s joint venture with local company Unitech and was transferred to a new entity controlled by the Nordic operator group at the end of 2012, when the partners went their separate ways.
Telenor subsequently announced a deal in which Lakshdeep Investments & Finance would buy 26 per cent of the company, which was named Telewings.