Algeria’s Ooredoo to investigate government’s order to expel CEO
Following the departure of Ooredoo Algeria’s CEO Nikolai Beckers in late February 2020, the company has announced the appointment of Bassam Yousef Al Ibrahim as Deputy General Manager, effective 1 March 2020.
Local media reported that the order to immediately expel and deport Beckers was issued directly by Algerian President Abdelmajid Taboun in response to the company’s decision to sack 900 Algerian workers.
An official statement from the government explained that the Beckers-led firm was proceeding to fire workers when it was not experiencing financial difficulty and was making profit.
It criticised the company’s downsizing policy claiming it was aimed at reducing the local workforce in Algeria while retaining foreign employees.
Ooredoo Group issued a statement confirming the development and said it would be monitoring developments within the country closely.
“The Group Board of Directors has launched an investigation into the allegations surrounding the expulsion order issued by the Algerian authorities against Ooredoo Algeria’s CEO. The Group continues to be committed to excellence in serving all customers and complies with the highest standards of corporate governance as well as following the applicable laws and regulations in every country which it operates in,” reads part of the statement.
Algeria is an important market for Ooredoo. At its AGM on 2 March 2020, the Group revealed it has become the first company in Algeria to offer 4G services to all 48 provinces. Its customer base was 12.6 million at the end of 2019 and it has installed 1,400 new technical sites across the country.
However, Ooredoo Group’s earnings report for the period ending 31 December 2019 noted persistent economic weakness, intense price competition and currency depreciation had impacted financial performance.
“The company reported revenues of QAR 2.5 billion in 2019 compared to 2.8 billion in 2018, as the Algeria dinar depreciated 2% against the Qatari Riyal during the period. EBITDA was QAR 867 million, down from QAR 1.0 billion in the previous year,” Ooredoo stated.
The company described Ibrahim as an expert with over 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry.
Prior to his latest appointment, Ibrahim was the Deputy Chief Procurement Officer – Strategic Sourcing at Ooredoo Group.