Zain has announced that its new CEO, effective from Sunday, February 14th, will be Mr Nabil Bin Salama. The appointment, made by the Board of Directors of Mobile Telecommunications Company KSC, follows the sudden resignation of former Chief Executive Mr Saad Al Barrak.
Mr Bin Salama has a Bachelor of Electronic Engineering from the University of Dayton, Ohio, USA. During 2009, he served as Kuwait’s Minister of Communication, Electricity and Water following many years in the public sector and formerly served as General Manager of a mobile operator in 1997.
Mr Al Barrak had served as the CEO of Zain since 2001, overseeing the company’s rise to its position as the third largest Arab telecom operator. His resignation came amid a turbulent period for the company – Kuwait-based Kharafi Group, a major shareholder, is looking to sell its 46% controlling stake in the operator.
A consortium of Indian and Malaysian investors last year expressed interest in purchasing the stake for around $13.7 billion, but the sale has not been confirmed, and the fact that Zain has postponed negotiations over the sale of its assets in Africa provides further suggestion that Mr Al Barrak’s resignation resulted from the differing agendas of the management and the shareholders.
The Board of Directors have stated their confidence in the professional capabilities of Mr Bin Salama in continuing the Company’s future direction and path in maximising shareholder value. Zain currently serves a customer base of 70 million across 23 countries in Africa and the Middle East.