Baiba Paegle, In Memoriam
The sad news is that Baiba Paegle, the chief executive of Lattelecom BPO, formally known as C1, died on June 5 after a long illness. Baiba contributed immensely to building up C1 and was a close advisor and confidant to Lattelecom's top management. Her death, while not unexpected, was nonetheless a shock to the Lattelecom community. Baiba was a women at the peak of her career and abilities. I would guess she was in her early 50s and is survived by three grown children, according to my information
Personally, she was a good source and very supportive of my journalistic and blogging efforts. I shall remember her from the last time we met in person, in the fall of 2005 at a conference in Stockholm, where she, Lattelecom CEO Nils Melngailis and I discussed their visions for the future of the company sitting in the cafe/bar of a hotel. I will remember her from that time, when she was at her shining best.
The weird news
The Procurement Monitoring Bureau, a Latvian state agency, has informed Lattelecom that, because of its 51 % state ownership and the fact that it is involved, together with the Latvian Post Office, in creating and delivering an electronic signature system, it falls under the rather strict and bureaucratic Latvian Public Procurement Law for all of its purchases. This means that everything Lattelecom buys for a larger amount (over LVL 70 000, I believe) is subject to the same kind of rather bureaucratic tender (and above all, slow) tender procedures that government ministries and agencies spending taxpayer money must use. Not exactly something for a telco that has to get more nimble every day. Interestingly, the Public Procurement Law excludes procurement for providing electronic communications services or for building electronic communications networks. But the head of the Procurement Monitoring Bureau, Andrejs Tiknuss, insists that the law should be applied to Lattelecom. A Lattelecom manager, informed of the new strictures and asked what they meant for the company, replied in a one-word SMS -- shit! Lattelecom will most likely contest this ruling both on the basis of the text of the law and on business logic. The public service of providing an e-signature is an insignificant part of the company's overall business of providing telecommunications services (and all that other stuff, BPO, whatever) in a competitive, commercial market.