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Zain Saudi replaces CEO Al Barrak

Saad al-Barrak has resigned as telecoms operator Zain Saudi's chief executive, the company said on Tuesday, two weeks after a consortium withdrew plans to buy a 25-percent stake.

October 11, 2011 10:32 by



Saad al-Barrak has resigned as telecoms operator Zain Saudi’s chief executive, the company said on Tuesday, two weeks after a consortium withdrew plans to buy a 25-percent stake.

Khaled bin Suleiman Al-Omar will take over as acting chief executive, pending the appointment of Badr bin Nasser al-Kharafi as permanent CEO if shareholders approve, the company said in a statement to the Saudi bourse.

Bahrain Telecommunications Co and Kingdom Holding withdrew a joint $950 million bid for a 25 percent stake owned by Kuwait’s Zain last month, while al-Barrak also tried to put together his own consortium to buy out Zain and allow him to remain in charge.

Barrak was also the former chief executive of Zain and was the architect of Zain’s rapid expansion in the previous decade, when Zain claimed to be the fourth largest telecoms carrier globally, with operations in 23 countries.

Zain has since retrenched to become a seven-licence carrier, selling its African operations to India’s Bharti Airtel for $9 billion in 2010, with indebted shareholder the Kharafi Group seen as the main driver for this change in strategy.

Kharafi also failed in two attempts to sell controlling stakes in Zain, first to an Indian-led consortium and then to UAE’s Etisalat .

A condition of the proposed deal with Etisalat was for Zain to first sell its stake in Zain Saudi since Etisalat is already active in Saudi Arabia through its affiliate Mobily.

Zain Saudi shares closed 1.7 percent lower on the Saudi bourse on Tuesday. (By Matt Smith; Additional reporting by Mahmoud Habboush; Editing by Greg Mahlich)



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