MegaFon CEO Soldatenkov quits, CFO Gevork Vermishyan named as successor

11 October 2018 | James Pearce

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MegaFon CEO Sergey Soldatenkov is to leave the company, with Gevork Vermishyan, who is currently executive director at the Russian operator, set to replace him.

Soldatenkov, who also served a general director at MegaFon, has been with the company for more than two decades, having served as CEO from 2003 to 2012, and then again from 2016.

He was previously the Vice President of United Company GROS, a role he held from 2002 to 2003. Prior to that, from 2000 to 2002, he was the Deputy CEO for Commercial Affairs, acting CEO, and then CEO at Petersburg Telephone Networks.

In a statement, Soldatenkov said he is leaving the pan-Russian operator ahead of the expiration of his contract, which was up in 2019, to pursue other opportunities.

He said: “ “I have decided that the time has come to hand the reins to Gevork. I have been involved with the Company since its creation, almost 20 years ago. Throughout this time we have been at the forefront of innovation: we were the first to launch new products and services, we surprised clients and competitors, and we were not afraid to change the sector nor, most importantly, to change ourselves.

“However, we have been conscious for a long time of the need for a management succession plan. With this in mind, we asked Gevork to take on the role of Executive Director last October, with a view to having me focus on strategy and government relations and having Gevork take on operational issues. In this way it was possible to gradually transition responsibilities to Gevork, and I believe that he is now ready to take over my responsibilities as well and assume full control of the management of the company.”

Vermishian joined MegaFon in July 2011 as its CFO but replaced Soldatenkov as executive director last year as part of its succession planning last year.

From 2002 to 2007, he held several management positions at OAO «LUKOIL», advancing from an analyst role to deputy head of the corporate borrowing department responsible for banks and financial markets. After this, he worked for AFK Sistema as head of corporate debt.

Before taking the reins, Vermishian will need to be approved at a general shareholders meeting which will be held on 13 November.

 Evgeny Bystrykh, chairman of the board of directors of MegaFon, added: “Gevork Vermishyan’s candidacy has our unanimous support. He has interacted effectively with the Board of Directors and we are confident that he can take MegaFon to the next level of its development. Gevork has already been deeply involved in the major transformational processes taking place within the Company, intended to allow us to respond to the challenges of today’s market and become the number one choice for our clients. I am confident that this appointment will be an important part in securing MegaFon’s leadership in the new digital economy that we are all working to achieve.”