Zain names Nabil Bin Salama as CEO
Former minister of communications takes on role of Zain CEO today
Kuwaiti mobile operator Zain has confirmed the appointment of former Kuwaiti minister of communication Nabil Bin Salama as its new CEO, effective from today, as fresh rumours emerged about the potential sale of its African assets.
Bin Salama, whose appointment follows the surprise resignation of former CEO Saad Al Barrak earlier this month, served as Kuwait's Minister of Communication, Electricity and Water in 2009, following several years in the public sector.
Bin Salama's appointment appears to mark a shift in direction from former chief Saad Al Barrak, who had been CEO since 2002 and set the course for the company's expansion into more than 20 countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
While Barrak was a staunch advocate of deregulation and spearheaded the company's rapid expansion into new and often risky markets, Bin Salama may follow a more conservative approach, with a greater focus on shareholder value.
"The Board of Directors state their confidence in the professional capabilities of Mr Bin Salama in continuing the Company's future direction and path in maximising shareholder value," the company said in a statement.
Bin Salam immediately faces some tough decisions at the telecom operator. Speculation over the sale of most of Zain's African assets continues, with reports now suggesting that Zain's board is due to meet imminently to discuss an offer from India's Bharti Airtel to pay up to $10.7 billion for Zain's African assets, according to a report from Jordanian daily al Rai.
Doubt was also cast over the direction of Zain Group last October, when Kharafi Group, a Kuwaiti business conglomerate and a major shareholder in Zain Group, said it was willing to sell a majority stake in the telco.