By THOMAS KEAN | FRONTIER
YANGON — Mobile operator Ooredoo Myanmar has parted ways with chief executive officer Rene Meza, shortly after the company announced disappointing results for the first half of the year.
Qatar-based Ooredoo announced the change with a one-sentence statement on August 21.
“Ooredoo Myanmar has accepted Mr Rene Meza resignation from his post as chief executive officer,” it said, adding that chief operating officer Mr Vikram Sinha would be acting chief executive officer until a permanent replacement was appointed.
The company did not respond to requests for comment from Frontier.
Meza said on his LinkedIn page that his departure “marks the culmination of an amazing journey in telecommunications that I started when I was 18 years old”.
Meza, who is from Paraguay, said he became CEO of the second-largest mobile operator in Tanzania at just 28. He described his career in telecommunciations as “a journey which gave me the opportunity to meet and lead groups of wonderful people, make friends, learn about new cultures and more importantly grow not only professionally but also personally”.
Before joining Ooredoo in September 2015, Meza was managing director of Vodacom Tanzania, but resigned in April amid a scandal over the alleged sale of fake pre-paid vouchers.
Meza arrived at Ooredoo around a year after its August 2014 launch, but the operator had already fallen well behind rivals MPT and Telenor in terms of subscriber numbers.
The picture failed to improve significantly under Meza and the most recent results, for the first half of 2017, were disappointing. In its presentation to investors, Ooredoo said the highlight of the half was the company’s “success in driving forward its efficiency programme and cost reduction initiatives”.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose to US$12.09 million, up from a $824,000 loss in the first half of 2016, but revenues were down 13 percent. The user base also grew just 1 percent over the year, to 8.3 million customers. In its first quarter results, the company said it had 9.3 million users in Myanmar, suggesting it shed 1 million in the second quarter.