Veon searches for new CEO after Jean-Yves Charlier steps down
27 March 2018 | Alan Burkitt-Gray
Jean-Yves Charlier has resigned as CEO of Veon, the Amsterdam-based mobile business formerly called VimpelCom.
Ursula Burns, the company’s chairman, will take his role from today as executive chairman until a replacement is found.
No immediate explanation is available for Charlier’s departure, though it appears on the surface to be amicable. Charlier said, in a statement issued by Veon: “It has been a privilege to lead Veon through a critical period in its history. Over the past three years, we have achieved a profound transformation of the group and I am immensely proud of all that we have accomplished.”
Burns, who was CEO of Xerox from 2009 to 2016 and then chairman of Xerox’s board until last year, paid tribute to Charlier’s role. “He leaves the company having led three years of performance, structural and business transformation, and he will assist me with the transition,” she said.
Charlier added: “The transformation creates a solid foundation for a positive path for the company in the years ahead and I wish Ursula and the Veon teams across the world the very best.”
Burns will continue her chairmanship while also assuming direct supervision of the company’s executive management team. During this transition period, she will be supported by Kjell Morten Johnsen, a former Telenor executive, who will take on the role of interim chief operating officer, assisting her in overseeing Veon’s operations in its markets.
Veon said its supervisory board is undertaking a search for a new CEO and added that, once a replacement is named and installed, Burns will revert to her role as chairman of the board.
She said: “With Veon’s unique geographic footprint, and a strong push on our digital agenda to better serve our 240 million customers, we are well positioned to compete, grow and prosper in the markets we serve. I look forward to working even closer with Veon’s management team to build on our strong foundations and find further opportunities to unlock value for our shareholders.”
Veon appointed Burns to be chairman of its expanded supervisory board in July 2017, when the company took steps to bring in external skills. She took over the chair from Russian-born Alexey Reznikovich, now a citizen of Malta, who runs the telecoms arm of LetterOne, the Luxembourg-based vehicle of energy investor Mikhail Fridman.
Burns, who trained as a mechanical engineer, spent most of her career at Xerox.
A former CEO of Colt, Charlier also ran French mobile operation SFR for two years until 2014 before joining what was still VimpelCom in April 2015.