TeliaSonera announced on June 12 that it was searching for a new group CEO. The present CEO, Anders Igel, will leave the company on July 31. This was a pleasant way of saying, Anders, you're fired! There had been mutterings about this in the Swedish press for some time.
How does this affect Latvia? First, it gives the government an opportunity to, yet again, procrastinate on any decision to privatise Lattelecom and to finally sell all of Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT) to TeliaSonera.
The other aspect is not so obviously obvious. TeliaSonera needs a new group CEO, probably an international manager, not necessarily a Swede (for who knows who will own TeliaSonera in a few years), as well as someone familiar with its growing Baltic and former USSR markets.
Perhaps TeliaSonera need look no further than Nils Melngailis, the 40-ish, Latvian-American, internationally-experienced (IBM Business Intelligence, Coopers & Lybrand) CEO of Lattelecom. After all, with the company mired by the government in indecision about who will own it, the role of Melngailis and other talent at Lattelecom is being reduced to uncertain short-term stewardship rather than nimble, strategic management. The management buy-out idea did not come out of nowhere, it was, in one aspect, a pressure tactic to get the government to act.
We may see a miracle and actually get a decision, but more likely, we will get procrastination. So don't ask them to take your name off the short list in Stockholm, Nils (and Stockholm, do look at your own 49 % owned talent).