Amsterdam-based operator VimpelCom said its Group CEO Jo Lunder (pictured) has decided to resign his position with effect from April 13, 2015 but will continue to serve as an advisor until July.
He will be replaced by Jean-Yves Charlier, who most recently was the Chairman and CEO of French operator SFR, where he completed the demerger of the company from Vivendi at the end of last year in a €17 billion transaction with cable operator Numericable.
Charlier may not have an easy task in front of him. Last month Lunder said he expected the “operating environment to remain difficult in 2015” as the operator presented a bruised set of Q4 and full-year financial results hit badly by weakening currency in Russia and the Ukraine.
In Italy, stiff competition continues to impact sales and squeeze margins. Q4 revenue dropped 9 per cent year-on-year, to €1.12 billion, while EBITDA margin shrank from 40.4 per cent (Q4 2013) to 37.3 per cent.
It was reported this week that talks about a merger between VimpelCom’s Wind and Hutchison Whampoa’s 3, Italy’s third and fourth largest mobile groups, are at an advanced stage.
Prior to SFR, Charlier was the CEO for Promethean, and has been on the board of several other listed companies including Activision Blizzard and Vivendi.
VimpelCom’s chairman, Alexey Reznikovich, said: “Jean-Yves is the right person to lead our company in the next stage of its development and at this exciting time of market opportunity, as we enter the digital world focusing on enhancing our customer relationships and providing innovative and exciting services across all of our markets.”