The loss of a top executive is yet another disruption for the Kuwaiti mobile operator Zain, which has had a choppy few months since Etisalat's takeover bid collapsed.
Zain, also known as Mobile Telecommunications Company, said yesterday it would be losing its chief operating officer when his contract expires tomorrow.
Abdul Malek Al Jaber will now focus on "personal business interests" and the group chief executive Nabil bin Salama will now also take the role of chief operating officer.
Mr Al Jaber, who also resigned from his post as the chief executive of Zain's Jordan unit, had been the chief operating officer only since March.
During his tenure, the company was close to signing one of the biggest merger and acquisition deals in the Middle East with Etisalat, but the deal fell apart after lengthy negotiations.
Zain has provisionally agreed to sell its 46 per cent stake in its Saudi Arabian unit to joint bidders Kingdom Holding and Bahrain Telecommunications.
But the long-running dispute over the merger, as well as issues in its other regional units, concerns observers.
This week, analysts at Nomura reduced the price target on Zain by 15 per cent, prompting shares in the telecoms company to drop almost 2 per cent.
In an extensive note that spoke positively of most of the Middle East's telecoms companies, Nomura cut Zain's price estimate to 1.04 Kuwaiti dinars from 1.22 dinars.
Zain has battled to compete with other operators in Kuwait and its shrinking market share there has prompted analysts to forecast marginal revenues.
"Going forward we expect that margins are likely to remain under pressure in Kuwait due to increasing competitive pressures," wrote analysts at Global Investment House, citing the entry of telecoms operator Viva launched in 2008, as the contributing factor.
But one bright spot on the horizon is a potential initial public offering of Zain's Iraqi unit, ringfenced for as soon as August, that is expected to boost the group's capital and fund the company's Middle East expansion plans.
Yesterday shares in the company rose 1.9 per cent to 1.04 dinars.