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17 January, 2020 10:10:34 AM

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GP appoints first Bangladeshi CEO

Yasir Azman takes charge Feb 01
STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka
GP appoints first Bangladeshi CEO
Yasir Azman

Amidst an ongoing tussle with the telecom regulator over unpaid dues from an audit claim, Grameen­phone (GP), the largest mobile operator of the country, yesterday appointed its Deputy CEO Yasir Azman as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). This is for the first time the Norwegian multinational telecom operator has opted for a home-grown CEO in Bangladesh in its 23 years of operation in the country.

Azman will take charge as CEO on February 1, replacing Michael Patrick Foley.

Foley will relocate to Africa, where his family is based.

Earlier Robi, country’s second largest telecom operator, appointed Mahtabuddin Ahmed as its CEO in November, 2016.

Azman has been serving as the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of GP since June 2015 and also as the Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Deputy CEO) of GP since May 2017. Also he served as the head of distribution and eBusiness of Telenor Group and worked across all Telenor operations, said a GP statement.

Following his new appointment, Yasir Azman, in a statement, said, “I am excited and humbled to be offered the role as CEO of Grameenphone. I am a true believer in Digital Bangladesh and our vision of empowering societies, connecting our customers to what matters most. It helps to unleash the true potential of our country.”

Petter-Børre Furberg, chairman of the Board of Directors of Grameenphone, in a message, said, “Yasir Azman has risen through the ranks of Grameenphone and Telenor Group, and I am very pleased that he has accepted to lead our operations in Bangladesh. He is the first home-grown CEO of Grameenphone, so this moment is extra special for everyone in Telenor and in Grameenphone.”

Michael Foley, the outgoing CEO of GP, held the position since May 2017. Before this, he was the CEO of Telenor Pakistan and Telenor Bulgaria.

Challenges ahead for new CEO

Azman’s appointment comes at a time when GP is in a dispute with Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), the country’s telecom regulator, over a claim of Tk12,579 crore in dues to the government, which was discovered in an audit on GP books of accounts.

In 2016, BTRC claimed Tk12,579.95 crore from the mobile phone operator in taxes and late fees accumulated over the years after running an audit.

In July last year, the BTRC slashed GP’s bandwidth temporarily by 30 percent and on July 22 decided not to give any types of approval to the mobile operator to roll out new packages or services, or import network equipment to put pressure on it for clearing their dues.

Later on November 24 last year the Supreme Court ordered GP to pay Tk2,000 crore to the BTRC within the next three months. The deadline for that payment will expire on February 23. The regulator has also taken preparations to appoint an administrator to GP in case it fails to make the payment in due time.

According to BTRC, among all private mobile operators in the country, GP has the highest number of pending complaints lodged by its subscribers. GP, however, denied such claim.

HM

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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