Telecom Egypt says CEO to step down

Telecom Egypt said chief executive Tarek Tantawy was stepping down to pursue other career opportunities.

Chief technology officer Mohammed Abdel Rehim Hassanein will be interim CEO until a permanent replacement for Tantawy is appointed, Telecom Egypt said on Wednesday.

Anti-government protests that unseated Egypt's president and brought much of the economy to a standstill in January and February and high-level corruption probes have sent shares of some of the country's biggest companies tumbling.

Telecom Egypt's shares are down 11 percent so far this year, outperforming a 30 percent slide by the benchmark EGX30 index.

Analysts have said Telecom Egypt showed resilience to the political and economic uncertainty caused by the uprising.

Tantawy "has championed corporate transparency, governance and disclosure, inspiring confidence in our company at home and overseas," Telecom Egypt said.

"I do not think this is necessarily a surprise as he had tendered his resignation about a year ago," said Michael Miller, head of research at Naeem brokerage. "I do not think it is to do with the political environment. It is more to do with career choices."

While revenue from the company's voice services has been hit by intense competition in the mobile market, fourth-quarter net profit rose 22 percent before the unrest began.

Miller, who rated Telecom Egypt stock a "buy", said there could be temporary weakness in the share price but the company's business outlook was still strong, with wholesale Internet and data more than compensating for weaker voice services.

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