Thursday, March 06, 2008

New Lattelecom honcho to be chosen in closed process

A new CEO for Lattelecom will be chosen by a closed, invitation-only search and selection process, according to a report by the Latvian news agency LETA.
LETA, which quotes Lattelecom supervisory council chairman Gundars Strautmanis, says the selection process will be completed by April 10 to ensure a rapid transition of leadership following the April 1 departure of Nils Melngailis.
Melngailis resigned citing a lack of support from the stakeholders in Lattelecom (the Latvian state - 51 % and TeliaSonera - 49 %). Most likely, the government was the "villain"in this development, since it first approved, then in January rejected a management buy-out proposed by Melngailis almost a year ago. TeliaSonera is also probably not wringing its hands about Melngailis departure -- it's handwringing should concern what happens now.
It is unlikely that any international manager will jump into what is seen as an unstable, politically influenced hotseat at the top of Latvia's incumbent fixed-line operator. Juris Gulbis, currently the CFO of Lattelecom, has been mentioned as an insider who might be tapped for the CEO post.
Valdis Vancovics, a board member and head of network services, could, in my opinion, be another inside candidate. However, one can wonder to what extent he was involved in Melngailis' strategy of looking to export Lattelecom services abroad. The government, which seems, IMHO, to understand little or nothing of the telecoms business, has not said what kind of strategy it sees for the company after Melngailis is gone and his plans have been rejected.
Well, we will see who is tossed into the fire after April 10. :)

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