The chief executive officer of Kuwait's Zain telecom giant, Saad al Barrak, has resigned, the company said in a statement posted on the Kuwait Stock Exchange website. The statement said Mr Al Barrak has submitted his resignation to the board of directors, which will meet to consider it. No reason was given for the surprising resignation. Mr Al Barrak, who is also deputy chairman of Kuwait's largest listed company, has been with Zain since 2002 and has been the main driving force behind the firm's massive expansions and acquisitions.
Over the past few years, Zain expanded rapidly by paying billions of dollars in huge acquisitions and is currently operating in 23 countries in Africa and the Middle East. The company customer base has risen from one million subscribers to about 72 million now. The acquisitions started in 2005 with the purchase of the African assets of the Dutch Celtel for $3.5 billion (Dh12.85bn). Zain's latest acquisitions have included winning a third licence in Saudi Arabia for $6.1bn and the purchase of assets in Morocco.
As of today, its capitalisation stands at about $13bn. It is one of three mobile operators in Kuwait, along with National Telecommunications Co (Wataniya) and Kuwait Telecommunications Co (VIVA). Qatar Telecom owns a majority stake in Wataniya while VIVA is run by the Saudi Telecom Co. *AFP