Veon’s CEO Jean-Yves Charlier (pictured) will exit the operator after three years of overseeing “performance, structural and business transformation”.
Ursula Burns, chairman of the board, will serve as executive chairman and will assume “direct supervision of the company’s executive management team”. She will be helped by Charlier through the transition, Veon said in a statement.
Charlier will not renew his contract when it expires at the end of March. He said: “It has been a privilege to lead Veon through a critical period in its history. Over the past three years, we have achieved a profound transformation…The transformation creates a solid foundation for a positive path for the company in the years ahead”.
The executive headed the Amsterdam-based company as it rebranded from Vimpelcom to Veon following a bribery scandal in Uzbekistan.
In an interview with Reuters, Burns said: “I’ll be able to lead the company through this phase with some confidence. Now we have to look for growth and transformation. That’s what we are doing.”
Commenting on finding a new CEO, she added: “We want to make sure we have someone who can fit in well and drive the type of expansion and transformation we are going through”.
She explained that making Veon’s network infrastructure and billing systems more digital, tailoring its messaging app to local markets and adding new online services would remain top priorities in 2018.
Burns will be supported by Kjell Morten Johnsen, who will take on the role of interim COO.
The supervisory board is undertaking a search for a new CEO, and once a replacement is named, Burns will revert to her role as chairman.
Veon’s CFO, Andrew Davies, resigned five months ago though he is still a board member of Veon’s Italian operations. Trond Odegard Westlie is the current CFO.
Veon has operations across “Eurasia” (Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Tajikistan and Georgia), as well as Russia, Algeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh and a joint venture in Italy (Wind) with Hutchison.