Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Weird stuff, but will it affect Lattelecom??

I am sitting here at my new job with no f**king phone of any kind. During a transition, my LMT mobile is disabled for outgoing calls and the new employer has yet to install some kind of software phone on my Windows (yuck) PC. Meanwhile, Skype is blocked on my Mac which I have on the wireless network here.
That all sort of leaves me out in the dark regarding the story that Ingrida Bluma, the CEO of Hansabanka, is officially leaving her post on January 1, as reported in a rumor story my former paper ran over the summer. That rumor was that Bluma would take a post at Lattelecom, possibly replacing Nils Melngailis as CEO. The reason for this was allegations that the Swedish half-mother TeliaSonera was dissatisfied with Melngailis, possibly because of his independent and aggressive development of Lattelecom as a company that could challenge TeliaSonera on its home turf.
I kind of don't buy that dissatisfied story since I was invited to a breakfast back in the summer by aTeliaSonera honcho to specifically deny this. With the kind of dramatic changes going on in the global and Latvian telecoms market, it is hard to see any reason for replacing a person with Melngailis experience and background (IBM Business Intelligence) with a banker (albeit reputedly a very good manager). And whether TeliaSonera likes it or not (since it will inevitably lose Lattelecom in a swap with the government to get all of Latvian Mobile Telephone /LMT), Melngailis strategy of making Lattelecom a defacto broadband provider, of giving away voice, seeking new areas of operation and working on several mobile strategies, is hardly off the mark.
One plausible scenario could be that Bluma will join Lattelecom as Melngailis consigliere to replace the late Baiba Paegle, another strong, forward-thinking and service-oriented manager who died during the summer. Before her illness, Paegle ran C1 (now Lattelecom BPO) but was known to be one of Melngailis closest collaborators whose counsel, doubtless, is badly missed.
There will be a press conference at Hansabanka at 1300 Latvian time on December 6 that may clear up some of these issues.

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