Thursday, January 19, 2006

SwissCom Appoints New CEO

SwissCom's Board of Directors appointed Carsten Schloter as its new CEO, following the resignation of Jens Alder. At his own request, Jens Alder is standing down as Swisscom CEO. In so doing, he is drawing personal conclusions from the change in international expansion plans prompted by Switzerland's Federal Council.

Switzerland's Federal Council has instructed its representative on the Board of Directors of SwissCom to vote against the company's proposed acquisition of Eircom, the incumbent telco in Ireland, and other possible acquisitions that Swisscom might make abroad. Market observers believed that Swisscom might have been contemplating a bid for Tele Danmark (TDC). Instead, the Swiss government is encouraging SwissCom to distribute available capital to its shareholders. The Swiss state holds approximately 66% equity stake in SwissCom.

In a statement, Swisscom's Board of Director said that, in principle, it now takes a positive view of plans to sell off the Swiss government's majority holding in Swisscom, and welcomes the measures initiated by the Federal Council to clarify the question as soon as possible. In addition to payouts in accordance with the current return policy, Swisscom aims to pay out some CHF 1.5 billion to shareholders by no later than 2009.

Carsten Schloter, the new CEO, previously served as CEO of Swisscom Mobile and as a member of the Group Executive Board. Before joining Swisscom in 2000, he worked for Mercedes and debitel in France and Germany.