UAE-based du tapped former Telia chief Johan Dennelind (pictured) to replace Osman Sultan at the head of its operation, after the latter decided to step down following 14 years as CEO.

In a statement, du explained it chose Dennelind following an “extensive and rigorous international search” for a successor to Sultan. Dennelind handed over control of Telia to interim chief Christian Luiga last week, but is due to remain with the Swedish operator in an advisory role to oversee the completion of key deals.

As a result of his advisory duties, Dennelind is scheduled to take the helm of du in early 2020.

Mohamed Al Hussaini, du chairman, explained Dennelind was selected due to his reputation “for delivering results in challenging situations”, along with his “transformational leadership style and well-developed change management skills”.

Dennelind noted he is joining du at a time of “unprecedented change” for the company and industry as a whole. In addition to working to “embrace these new challenges,” his mission as du CEO will be to “realise the undoubted potential of the company”, he added.

GSMA Intelligence figures show du’s market share in the UAE (including cellular M2M) held steady at around 42 per cent in the second quarter (behind market leader Etisalat). During the period, the operator reported profit of AED464 million ($126.3 million), up from AED453 million in the comparable period of 2018, though revenue of AED3.18 billion was down from AED3.35 billion.