Veon appointed current COOs Sergi Herrero and Kaan Terzioglu (pictured left and right, respectively) as joint CEOs effective from 1 March, seeking to boost its performance and advance its move from connectivity to digital service provider.

Herrero and Terzioglu will take over from current CEO Ursula Burns, who is relinquishing the role to focus on her role as chairman. Herrero told Mobile World Live (MWL) the move was “a natural evolution from what we’ve been doing, Kaan and I, for the past three months as co-COOs”.

He said the pair would build on Burns’ efforts in restructuring the company as it aims to become a leader in digital services.

Terziouglu explained the change served as a statement that “achieving the right results in a digital economy takes, actually, a true partnership and teamwork. And it’s the marriage of the telco and also the digital services which will create the success story”.

The executives explained the move aimed to create a strong joint leadership and bring its different operations together, rather than splitting them.

Herrero will focus on Veon’s efforts to build new ventures, establish partnerships, and implement its digital programme in markets including Pakistan, Ukraine, Bangladesh, Algeria and Russia.

Terziouglu said his focus will be on the telecom operations and making sure “we integrate those services into our value propositions to touch the end customer”.

He also highlighted the importance of jointly leading “the operations to create a digital operator of the future”.

Future outlook
Herrero highlighted Veon’s customers as a core focus: “For us, having a reliable network that is fast, that reaches where the customers are, is a priority. On top of that, we are going to build the rest.”

Terziouglu emphasised developing a 5G network as one of the main priorities, explaining “the right recipe for success” lies in empowering OTT apps by integrating them with the “capabilities of the network, and the capabilities of the 4G network and the 5G network, which will make them really customised based on vertical, based on solution in terms of security services, authentication services, location services”.

The executive noted Veon was working to address challenges in its Russian business, which weighed on earnings in Q3 2019. He explained it would focus on customer experience, network quality, efficiency of its distribution, and digitising the customer experience.

Terziouglu added the company had also made organisational changes as part of its “get well” plan, and was seeking a new leader for its Russian business after Vasyl Latsanych stepped down as general manager.

The executives spoke to MWL as the company revealed a bump in reported net profit in Q4 2019, up 45.5 per cent year-on-year to $48 million on revenue of $2.25 billion, which was broadly flat.

Service revenue in the quarter of $2.1 billion was also flat versus Q4 2018.

For the full year, profit soared 88.7 per cent to $683 million, with total revenue of $8.86 billion down 2.5 per cent and the service figure falling 3.4 per cent to $8.2 billion.