Jon Fredrik Baksaas (pictured), president and CEO of European and Asian operator Telenor, is to replace Franco Bernabe as chairman of the GSMA, the mobile industry association announced this morning.

The move is not a surprise. Earlier this month Bernabe announced his resignation, following his decision to step down as the head of Telecom Italia. Baksaas has held the role of deputy chairman of the GSMA since January 2011.

The Telenor man will serve as GSMA chairman for the remainder of the current board term through to December 2014.

Constituted in 2003, the GSMA’s board has 24 members made up of the largest operator groups and members from smaller independent operators with global representation.

“Connecting even more of the world’s population to the mobile Internet is a top priority, and to address this, the GSMA will continue to focus on the future evolution of our networks, the adoption of secure and interoperable new services and advocate for the needs of our industry to governments and regulators,” said Baksaas in a statement.

“We are at a critical juncture in the development of the mobile communications industry, as we see an ever-increasing number of people, devices and things becoming connected by mobile,” added Anne Bouverot, director general of the GSMA and also a member of the board.

“I am looking forward to working with Jon Fredrik and the entire GSMA board to develop global and regional programmes that will drive future growth and investment in mobile services, and deliver the social and economic benefits that mobile can provide to men and women around the world,” Bouverot continued.