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Telenor’s New CEO assures unchanged strategy amid management transition

Norway’s Telenor picked the head of a regional bank as its new CEO on Thursday and said the telecom group’s strategy and its goal of growing profitably would be unaffected by the management transition.

Benedicte Schilbred Fasmer, currently the head of SpareBank 1 SR-Bank, will take the helm at Telenor on Dec. 1 when its present CEO Sigve Brekke retires, the two companies announced.

“The telecoms industry is technology driven and customer focused, very much a parallel to banking,” Fasmer told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Both industries are maintaining infrastructure that is critical to society, she said.

SR-Bank last year agreed to merge with rival SpareBank 1 Soeroest-Norge to form Norway’s largest savings bank, although the transaction still awaits regulatory approval.

Fasmer, who previously held senior positions at Norway’s largest bank DNB and insurer Fremtind, has also worked in asset management and is a former chair of the board of the Oslo Stock Exchange.

“The lack of telecoms experience may be viewed negatively by investors, but these fears can be abated by confirmation that Telenor’s existing strategy will not change significantly,” JPMorgan analysts said in a note to clients.

Telenor’s share price was down 1.8% by 1215 GMT, underperforming a 0.6% rise in the Oslo benchmark stock index. Reuters

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