13 Dec 2018 13:45

VEON names Ursula Burns permanent CEO

MOSCOW. Dec 13 (Interfax) - Ursula Burns, who was named acting CEO of VEON at the end of March after the departure of Jean-Yves Charlier, has been appointed head of the company on a permanent basis, the telecom provider reported.

Burns is also chairman of VEON's board of directors, a position she has held since the summer of 2017. Burns, who headed Xerox Corporation from 2009 to 2016, also serves on the boards of ExxonMobil, Nestle and Uber.

Burns has served as Chairman of the VEON Board of Directors since July 2017 and as Executive Chairman since March 2018, during which time she has "successfully introduced a simplified corporate structure including a leaner operating model along with an increased focus on emerging markets," VEON said. VEON pulled out of its Italy joint venture, closing the sale of its stake in Wind Tre on September 7.

VEON initially planned to look for a new CEO and once a replacement was named Burns would revert to her role as chairman of the board. During the transition period, VEON's head of major markets Kjell Morten Johnsen took on the role of interim chief operating officer and assisted Burns in managing the company. Johnsen previously managed VEON's Russian telco VimpelCom.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama appointed Burns to help lead the White House national program on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), and she served as chair of the President's Export Council. Burns also counsels other community, educational and non-profit organizations including the Ford Foundation and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Corporation. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineers and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Burns holds a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University and a bachelor's in mechanical engineering from Polytechnic Institute of New York University.

VEON is a global telecoms provider in which LetterOne, part of the Alfa-Group, owned by Mikhail Fridman and his business partners, has a 47.9% stake. Telenor owns another 19.7% and the free float on the Nasdaq is currently 29.2%. Following the completion of a deal with Telenor, free float will rise to 43.8%. A further 8.3% is managed by Dutch trust.