VEON names former investment banker Kazbegi as strategy chief


VEON has appointed Alex Kazbegi as its new chief strategy officer in order to drive the company’s growth strategy.

Kazbegi, who has spent more than two decades in a number of senior leadership roles across the investment banking sector, will join VEON’s executive board on 18 February 2019, reporting directly to CEO Ursula Burns.

He has a broad range of experience across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and has served as managing director and head of EMEA telecoms at Renaissance Capital, where he oversaw a number of high-profile IPOs. Prior to that, Kazbegi was a lead telecoms analyst for EMEA at Citigroup.

Commenting on his appointment, Burns said: “Alex’s appointment is a further sign of the momentum that is building at VEON, as we seek to strengthen our core business and grow new revenue streams while remaining focused on ethics and compliance. His experience covering telecoms in Russia and other emerging markets will help the Group Executive Committee lead VEON towards more success and increased shareholder value.”

The appointment is just the latest change in personnel for VEON, which was formerly VimpelCom until it rebranded in 2017, moving its headquarters to Amsterdam. At the end of January, VEO named Sergey Afonin as CEO of subsidiary Beeline Uzbekistan, while Evgeniy Nastradin became CEO of its Kazakhstan arm just a week earlier.

Burns herself is a relatively new appointment, having been named CEO and chairman of VEON in December.  Burns had served as chairman of the VEON board of directors since July 2017 and as executive chairman since March 2018 after Jean Yves Charlier left his role as CEO  that month.

VEON has operations in Russia, Ukraine, Algeria, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It owned a 50% stake in Italian operator Wind Tre until July 2018, when it sold its half to the other shareholder, CK Hutchison.