x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

New chairman for Etisalat in boardroom reshuffle

Etisalat, the biggest telecommunications company in the country, appointed a new chairman and a host of board members as it continues to reconfigure its senior management.

Growth of Etisalat’s international operations proved a major boost, the company said. Pawan Singh / The National
Growth of Etisalat’s international operations proved a major boost, the company said. Pawan Singh / The National

Etisalat, the biggest telecommunications company in the country, yesterday appointed a new chairman and a host of board members as it continues to reconfigure its senior management.

Eissa Mohammad Al Suwaidi will now head the board for Etisalat, which lost its monopoly when du began operations in 2007. He replaces Mohammad Omran, who joined 35 years ago, a year after the firm's establishment. Mr Omran has chaired Etisalat since 2005.

The appointments were made under a decree from Sheikh Khalifa, President of the UAE.

"I look forward to further establishing Etisalat as the integrated telecommunication company of choice across our markets," Mr Al Suwaidi said in a statement.

The company was going through a period of "introspection" as it tried to reap more from its existing overseas operations, said Nishit Lakhotia, a telecoms analyst at Bahrain's Securities and Investment Company.

"It's clear that they're getting a new team in place and they have a new strategy," he said.

The company appointed Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar as its new group chief executive in August last year to better direct its international strategy and also replaced its chief financial officer in December.

Mr Al Suwaidi is the current chairman of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, an executive director at the Abu Dhabi Investment Council, and a director of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company for Distribution and the International Petroleum Investment Company.

The Government also appointed six board members, three of whom had been elected previously.

Many of the new board members have connections to the financial sector with two of the appointments also sitting on the board of Emirates NBD.

Essa Kazim, the chairman and chief executive of the Dubai Financial Market, was also among the appointments.

The new management arrives as Etisalat faces growing comeptition from its Dubai-based rival du.

Etisalat also had to write off Dh1 billion (US$272.2 million) last yearafter losing its 2G mobile licensing rights in India in the wake of a corruption scandal in the country.

Etisalat did not commit any wrongdoing in the affair but rather was a victim of the corruption.

The company's shares were unchanged at Dh9.20 following the announcement.

Etisalat is 60 per cent owned by the Emirates Investment Authority, a Government-owned investment fund.

ghunter@thenational.ae

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