New co-CEOs for Veon as Ursula Burns reverts to chairmanship

New co-CEOs for Veon as Ursula Burns reverts to chairmanship

14 February 2020 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

Cover

Veon has appointed two co-CEOs of the group, replacing chairman Ursula Burns’s CEO role, which she has had since the end of 2018. Burns will stay on as chairman.

Meanwhile Vasyl Latsanych will step down as CEO of Veon’s operation in Russia, Beeline. Burns (pictured) said: “Our business performance in Russia remains challenging and reversing the revenue trend of recent quarters remains our key priority in the year ahead.”

The two new co-CEOs are Sergi Herrero and Kaan Terzioğlu. They will take on their roles from 1 March, with Herrero looking after new ventures, digital products and partnerships, and overseeing operations in Pakistan, Ukraine, Algeria, Bangladesh and Armenia. Before joining Veon last year he was Facebook’s global director of payments and commerce partnerships.

Terzioğlu, CEO of Turkcell until April 2019, will look after the group’s core telecommunication services and operations in Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Georgia.

Burns said: “Kaan and Sergi are a formidable leadership team, with each bringing complementary skills and experience, further positioning Veon to strengthen our core connectivity business while expanding our suite of digital services.”

Burns, a mechanical engineer and then spent most of her career at Xerox, starting as a new graduate in 1980s and leaving in 2017 as chairman of the board, joined Veon as non-executive chairman in 2017, and became CEO as well after the departure of Jean-Yves Charlier, now at Digicel.

In its results, published this morning, Veon said that “operational weakness in Russia was offset by strong performances from our growth engines (Pakistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan), while our frontier markets delivered solid results”.

Burns said: “2019 was another year of solid growth for the group, which we achieved alongside important milestones in compliance, governance and social responsibility”. She said that “our financial targets have each been either met or exceeded on all fronts, giving us confidence to set similar growth ambitions for the financial year ahead”.

In Russia, “I believe that the measures we have taken to improve the quality of our networks, optimise our distribution footprint and reconfigure our customer offers will yield results towards the latter part of 2020”, she added.

For 2020 the company said it expects “low single-digit local currency growth for total revenue, mid-single-digit local currency growth for EBITDA and operational capex/total revenue of 21%-22%”.