The stakeholders in Lattelecom, the Latvian fixed network operator, have agreed to start a search process for a new CEO and board chairman to replace Nils Melngailis, who resigned effective April 1.
Lattelecom is owned 51 % by the Latvian government and 49 % by Sweden's TeliaSonera. Melngailis resigned in the wake of a management buy-out effort that was aborted by the government on January 17. With the company showing record 2007 revenues and earnings only slightly down from a year earlier, the departure of the experienced Latvian-American manager is seen as politically motivated.
Melngailis was not re-elected as chairman of Lattelecom's board in December, a signal that he was not wanted.
Juris Gulbis, currently the finance director and acting board chairman, is rumored to have a good chance at the position. In view of the policized run-up to Melngailis resignation, it is doubtful that many international managers from outside Latvia will apply. Gulbis has a backrgound in a largely Russian-owned international alcoholic beverages distribution company as well as Latvijas balzams, a local liquour producer, so he has some internationa experience (Cyprus, Switzerland).