Eurobites: Ericsson's Ekholm Tells Employees He's Going Nowhere

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Dominique Leroy leaves Proximus for KPN and massive pay rise; TIM and Ericsson test cloud-native 5G network; Telenor's merger with Axiata is off.

  • Is Ericsson engineering Börje Ekholm's exit? It seems not, according to a Reuters report citing an internal memo apparently sent by the Swedish vendor's CEO to employees denying that he we was on his way after less than three years in charge. The claim that he was about to leave the company first appeared last week on business daily Dagens Industri, and the news caused Ericsson shares to fall 4%. Ekholm was hired in early 2017 to sort out the Ericsson's finances and review its strategy, and he is widely considered to have done a decent job. (See Eurobites: Is Ericsson Engineering Ekholm's Exit?)

  • One exec who is definitely leaving for pastures new is Dominique Leroy, who will shortly be clearing her desk at Belgian's Proximus, where she was CEO, and heading across the border to Dutch incumbent KPN, succeeding Maximo Ibarra as CEO, starting in December. Why is she moving? Well this might be a factor: At Proximus her basic pay was €522,000 (US$575,000), making her one of the worst-paid CEOs in the European telecom industry; at KPN she will receive €935,000 ($1.03 million). Ibarra, her predecessor, was collecting just €657,000 ($724,000) in basic pay, although he took home €1.49 million ($1.64 million) in total. Leroy joined Proximus, or Belgacom as it was then known, in 2011; prior to that she had spent 24 years at consumer goods behemoth Unilever, ultimately becoming managing director of Unilever BeLux.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) and Ericsson claim to have successfully tested TIM's 5G cloud-native core network at the Italian operator's laboratories in Turin. According to TIM, the adoption of cloud-native technologies represents "a fundamental step" in the develop of new 5G services, allowing network resources to be optimized in a "dynamic, immediate and automatic" way.

  • Despite a statement to the contrary from Axiata's CEO only a few days ago, it seems the proposed $13B merger between Malaysia's Axiata and Norway's Telenor is off. In a short statement, Telenor said: "Due to some complexities involved in the Proposed Transaction, the parties have mutually agreed to end the discussions." If it had gone ahead, the merger would have created one of the world's biggest mobile operator groups, with nearly 300 million subscribers across nine Asian countries. (See Telenor, Axiata Scrap $13B Merger Over 'Complexities'.)

  • Sparkle, the international services arm of TIM, has extended its connectivity tentacles further into Chile with the opening of a new point of presence (PoP) in Huechuraba. The PoP is connected to Sparkle's Tier 1 global IP backbone, Seabone.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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