TeliaSonera to overhaul board in wake of Uzbekistan scandal

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Nomination committee proposes six new members for troubled telco’s eight-member board.

TeliaSonera’s nomination committee has proposed six new names for the Swedish telco’s eight-member board as it looks to put its Uzbekistan woes behind it.

Despite law firm Mannheimer Swartling finding no evidence of the corruption or bribery TeliaSonera was accused of engaging in to secure a licence in Uzbekistan, it sharply criticised the telco for neglecting to thoroughly investigate its local partner there. TeliaSonera accepted the criticism and announced an extensive board reshuffle, prompting group CEO Lars Nyberg to resign.

“Even if this transaction was legal, we should not have gone ahead without learning more about the identity of our counterparty. This is something I regret,” said Nyberg, in his resignation statement.

CFO Per-Arne Blomquist was appointed as his interim replacement. “The conclusion of the nomination committee is that TeliaSonera needs a new start in many respects,” said a statement from the committee on Thursday. “This conclusion is based on the committee’s interviews with board members and the former CEO regarding the board’s internal work and the company’s current situation, as well as on the conclusions in the Mannheimer Swartling report.”

The committee proposed re-electing two current board members: former Nokia chief executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, whom it has also nominated for vice-chairman, and Per-Arne Sandström; however, the remaining six, including current chairman Anders Narvinger and vice chairman Timo Peltola, have all declined to stand for re-election.

Nominated as potential replacements are Marie Ehrling, who was president of TeliaSonera’s Swedish operations between 2003 and 2006, Mats Jansson, Tapio Kuula, Nina Linander, Spotify founder Martin Lorentzon, and Kersti Strandqvist.

The election will be held during TeliaSonera’s annual general meeting, which due to take place on 3 April.