Veon appoints banker to run Russian telecoms operation

Veon appoints banker to run Russian operation Beeline

03 April 2020 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Veon has brought back a former CEO after a decade to run its Russian operation.

Alexander Torbakhov will head Beeline Russia, Veon’s Russian operation, from Monday, the Amsterdam-based group announced today.

He replaces Vasyl Latsanych, who had been CEO of Russian operations for just over two years. The company announced in February 2020 than he would “step down at the end of June this year”, but it now seems he has left three months ahead of schedule. Latsanych was previously head of marketing at rival Russian operator MTS.

Ten years ago Torbakhov (pictured) was general director of VimpelCom, as the company was then called, before he became deputy chairman and CEO of Sberbank, the Savings Bank of the Russian Federation. Sberbank is the largest bank in Russia, central and eastern Europe.

Russia is Veon’s largest operation, representing 50.6% of its US$8.8 billion turnover in the latest financial year. The next biggest is Pakistan, which is 15% of the group’s business.

Torbakhov managed Sberbank’s retail banking operations, including the expansion of digital products and services to more than 80 million customers.

Torbakhov will report to Veon’s co-CEOs Sergi Herrero and Kaan Terzioglu, said the company. They were appointed in February, when Ursula Burns relinquished the CEO position but continued as chairman. 

“Alexander is a respected business figure in Russia and brings with him a wealth of success from some of the country’s largest consumer and technology businesses,” said the co-CEOs in a joint statement.

“His experience and leadership will be crucial as we continue to transform the operational and financial performance of Beeline Russia.”

Torbakhov said: “Beeline is one of Russia’s strongest brands and I look forward to leading the company and continuing the operational and financial transformation that began several months ago. The coronavirus pandemic has again highlighted the importance of connectivity and digital services for society and I’m committed to placing customers at the centre of Beeline’s future strategy.”