Lunder to replace Izosimov as VimpelCom CEO from July 1

VimpelCom, one of Russia’s top three mobile phone operators, has voted to appoint its current Chairman Jo Lunder as its new CEO, VimpelCom said in a statement on Monday.

Lunder, who has been employed in various capacities for Norway’s Telenor, one of VimpelCom’s stakeholders, will replace Alexander Izosimov,  who will step down from July 1.

VimpelCom has recently completed a $6 billion merger with Wind Telecom and created the world’s sixth largest telecoms firm.

Telenor has strongly opposed the merger with Wind, promoted by another VimpelCom major shareholder, Russia’s Alfa Group.

“We think that Lunder is a compromise figure between Alfa and Telenor and is likely to continue to pursue the views of major shareholders. Lunder’s latest votes on VimpelCom Ltd’s supervisory board might also indicate that he is unlikely to back minority shareholders’ interests or improve VimpelCom Ltd’s corporate governance significantly in this sense,” VTB Capital said in a research note.

“We also think that Izosimov’s departure would probably lead to another management reshuffle at VimpelCom Russia, which we would see as negative for the company in the short term (as the company might lack focus,” VTB Capital said.

VimpelCom completed the merger with Wind Telecom, owned by Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, in April. The deal has cut Telenor’s share to 25 percent of the voting stock from 36.03 percent, and the share of Alfa, billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s investment vehicle, to 31 percent from 44.65 percent. The share of VimpelCom’s minority shareholders fell to 13.4 percent from 19.32 percent. Sawiris received 30.6 percent of the voting stock.

After the announcement of the deal closure Altimo said it planned to sell some of its voting shares in VimpelCom and elect a new supervisory board for the firm in a move analysts said would impair VimpelCom’s corporate governance.

MOSCOW, May 16 (RIA Novosti)

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