OSLO Dec 9 Norway's industry minister has
backed the board and chairwoman of telecoms operator Telenor
despite reports of splits on the future of the
state-controlled firm's chief executive.
Financial daily Dagens Naeringsliv on Wednesday reported
that Chairwoman Gunn Waersted recently called on Telenor Chief
Executive Sigve Brekke to step down, but that a majority of
board members had rejected the plan.
Despite owning 54 percent of Telenor's shares, the Norwegian
government does not take part in the day-to-day running of the
firm or the hiring of managers, but is involved in the
appointment and removal of board members.
"The trade and industry minister has full confidence in the
chairwoman and the board, as we have in the boards of all the
companies where we are owners," a spokesman for the ministry
said in a statement on Friday.
Trade and Industry Minister Monica Maeland had previously
declined to comment.
Brekke, who joined Telenor in 1998, became chief executive
in August 2015. The company's shares traded 1.3 percent higher
on Friday but are down by more than 10 percent this year.
DNB Markets analyst Christer Roth said Telenor should aim to
quickly resolve the situation.
"It's unsustainable if the leader of the board and the CEO
of a company are unable to cooperate sensibly ... the fact that
a potential conflict is brought to light will hopefully help
solve the problems, which will in turn be good for
shareholders," he added.
Telenor declined to comment on the case.
(Reporting by Joachim Dagenborg, writing by Terje Solsvik;
Editing by Keith Weir)