Batelco CEO quits, former chief returns
Peter Kaliaropoulos to run Bahrain telco as COO while new chief is sought
The CEO of Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco) has stepped down in the midst of a persistent profit slump and will be temporarily replaced by his predecessor, Reuters reported.
No reason was given for the departure of Sheikh Mohamed bin Isa al-Khalifa, who became CEO in October 2011 after a period as deputy chairman, but he had been unable to stop the drop in profits that the Bahrain operator had blamed on stiffer domestic competition.
On his appointment as CEO, Sheikh Mohamed replaced long-serving Peter Kaliaropoulos, who became group chief executive officer for Strategic Assignments. Kaliaropoulos has now been appointed to the role of chief operating officer and, in collaboration with a three-person committee, will lead Batelco until a new CEO can be appointed.
The Bahrain operator competes at home with opcos of Saudi Telecom Co and Kuwait's Zain, as well as around 10 ISPs. It has reported sliding earnings in 11 of the past 12 quarters, with 2012 net profit down 22.2%, year on year.
In an effort to stall the slump, Batelco has looked to foreign markets. In April it reached a final agreement to buy Cable & Wireless Communications' Monaco & Islands Division, opening up 10 new markets. Batelco also owns Jordanian telco Umniah, 27% of Yemeni mobile operator Sabafon and minority stakes in Internet providers in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.