Telenor launches towerco headed by Sweden business CEO

01 June 2021 | Melanie Mingas

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Telenor Group has spun its Nordic tower assets into a new business and appointed the CEO of Telenor Sweden to take the reins.

Telenor Tower Holding AS gathers all Telenor’s tower activities in the Nordics under one unit that will report directly to the group CFO, Tone Hegland Bachke.

The business will be headed by Telenor Sweden CEO Kaaren Hilsen (pictured), effective 1 September. Telenor said the search for Hilsen's successor has yet to begin.

“Tower infrastructure is a strategically important area for Telenor. We need a dedicated CEO and management team to drive value creation, and Kaaren is the right person to take on this challenge,” said Bachke, EVP and CFO of Telenor Group.

The towerco strategy was unveiled in the firm's 2020 capital markets day and is slated as the next step for Telenor as it looks for operational improvements and added value in tower infrastructure.

Commenting on her appointment, Hilsen said: "I am excited to take on the position as CEO of Telenor Tower Holding AS as the new company will play an important part for Telenor Group’s ability to drive and unlock value going forward.  At the same time, it’s with a heavy heart I have decided to leave Telenor Sweden. In some ways, I feel that I am leaving too early as I would have liked to see more of the results of the new strategy and the big transformation we have gone through over the past few years"

Appointed CEO in 2019, Hilsen has led Telenor Sweden through network modernisation and its 5G launch. She joined the company in 2000 and has also served as CFO for Telenor Sweden, and CEO and CFO of Telenor Montenegro. Her previous experience further included investor relations and business management roles in Telenor’s Asian operations in Thailand and Singapore.

Sigve Brekke, president and CEO of Telenor Group said: “I want to thank Kaaren for leading Telenor Sweden in a challenging period characterised by strong competition in the market. As CEO she has laid the foundation for a solid turnaround, and the strategy she and her management team has put in place has started to yield the desired results in Sweden.”

Telenor's news followed similar developments over recent months from Orange, Telstra and others.

Further, back in November KKR invested an undisclosed sum from its infrastructure fund in the parent company of Frontier Tower Associates Philippines (FTAP).

Also making headlines today, Telenor Global Services has signed up WOM Chile to a five-year managed roaming agreement. The terms state Telenor will be responsible for the full end-to-end wholesale roaming process while WOM Chile will utilise Telenor's wholesale roaming platform to leverage cost, revenue, service roll-out and quality benefits.

“We want our customers to have the best experience traveling abroad and this agreement with TGS will allow us to continue improving our roaming offer to all our customers, at fair prices”, said Rodrigo Hurtado, business market and connectivity manager of WOM Chile.