Telenor Announces Changes in Group Executive Management


Berit Svendsen is stepping down from her position as CEO of Telenor Norway and head of the Scandinavia Cluster. The Board of Directors of Telenor Norway has appointed Petter Furberg as the new CEO. Kaaren Hilsen is announced as the new CEO in Telenor Sweden. Morten Karlsen Sørby is appointed acting Cluster Head of Scandinavia after Svendsen.

Berit Svendsen has been the CEO of Telenor Norway for seven years and has held an additional role of Cluster Head for Scandinavia since March 2017. During the last six months both Chair of the Board for Telenor ASA, Gunn Wærsted, and Telenor Group President and CEO, Sigve Brekke, have been in dialogue with Svendsen about further career development and potential new areas of responsibility.

Long-term work with management development

“It is important for the Board that the Group Executive Management team continuously broadens and develops its experience and competence, both professionally and geographically. The Board also wants Telenor to develop a wider range of leaders prepared to take on more extensive assignments in the Group, including potential successors to the Group CEO. Some candidates will benefit from more international experience whereas others will benefit from more exposure to the Norwegian market. The Board of Telenor ASA is pleased with how the Group CEO has followed up on the Board’s plans to develop internal successor candidates. Telenor Norway has delivered great results for seven years thanks to Berit’s leadership and, as a result, she is someone we saw as having a key role in Telenor’s future, and it’s a shame and very sad that Berit has decided to decline the offers of new roles presented to her. The Group CEO has really tried to accommodate her wishes,” says Gunn Wærsted, Chair of the Board of Telenor Group.

“At the same time it is satisfactory to see that the long-term work with building leadership means that a complete Group Executive Management and management of our business units are already in place and are ready to deliver on the ambitious plans being made. To succeed in a challenging environment with strong competition, the energy of all employees in Telenor must be directed at delivering the best services to our customers. The Board regrets the uncertainty experienced within the Norwegian Telenor organization in the past few weeks and the strain this has caused for our colleagues”, says Wærsted.

Rotation of roles

“I have tried to find a good solution tailored to Berit’s own wishes, while at the same time ensuring development of competence and experience both for her and others. I greatly respect and understand that international assignments aren’t always fitting. I have therefore explored all options to accommodate Berit’s needs and wishes. As Berit herself showed a strong interest in continuing to work with Scandinavia, and I wanted to keep her in the Group Executive Management, one of the offers was a new fulltime role as head of this cluster and to take my role as Chair of the Board for Telenor Norway,” says Sigve Brekke, Telenor Group President and CEO.

“Berit Svendsen has been a significant leadership figure in Telenor for many years, and she has made great contributions to the company and delivered solid results. I really hoped to continue working with Berit, while I was also clear that as leaders in Telenor, we must be prepared to rotate in the roles in order to increase the pool of competence and experience. It’s disappointing that we have not succeeded in finding a role that Berit wanted to take on,” says Brekke.

The parties have come to an agreement that means Berit Svendsen will step down from her position as CEO for Telenor Norway and Cluster Head for Scandinavia.

“I leave Telenor full of pride over having positively contributed to the company’s development and growth through 30 years. I have had the pleasure of being lifted up and forward by fantastic colleagues and employees. Together we have taken Telenor to new heights, and this has been noticed also outside of the company. I wish all my friends and colleagues in Telenor the best of luck. Now I will take some time off and reset before I surely will take on new and exciting challenges elsewhere,” says Berit Svendsen.

New leaders in Norway and Sweden

Petter Furberg has extensive experience from several of Telenor’s operations and business areas. Since joining the company in 1998, he has held a number of senior management positions, including CEO positions in Myanmar and Bangladesh, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Marketing Officer in dtac, Thailand, and Head of Financial Services for Telenor Group based at Fornebu. Today he is EVP, Cluster Head for Emerging Asia and part of Telenor’s Group Executive Management. Furberg started his Telenor career in the finance department of Telenor International in Norway.

“Petter Furberg has broad experience from senior management roles across Telenor Group. He has been part of leading complex established organisations and has been responsible for building one of our mobile operations from scratch as well as new product areas. I am pleased that he has accepted the demanding role as CEO of Telenor Norway. As Berit, he is a leader who is able to engage people and build enthusiasm. We believe he is the right person to lead a company that is critical both for Telenor Group and for the digitalisation of Norwegian society,” says Sigve Brekke.

Bjørn Ivar Moen, current head of Telenor Norway’s Mobile division, will be acting CEO of Telenor Norway from today until Furberg starts. Moen will thereafter remain in Telenor Norway’s management team.

Kaaren Hilsen was until 2017 CFO in Telenor Sweden and has worked for Telenor’s operations in Montenegro and Thailand. She now returns to Telenor Sweden as the new CEO from the position of CFO for Betsson AB.

“Kaaren Hilsen is an experienced leader who knows Telenor’s businesses very well. I’m pleased that Kaaren is returning to Telenor after a brief period of time outside the company. Her broad international experience and ability to create results will contribute to further strengthening Telenor in the important Swedish market,” said Sigve Brekke.

“I’m pleased that Morten Karlsen Sørby has accepted the role as acting Cluster Head for Scandinavia and Chairman of the Board for the three Scandinavian business units for a period of one year. Few leaders are as well versed in Nordic and Scandinavian collaboration as him, and I’m confident in his ability to continue creating synergies between these three markets,” says Brekke.

Telenor’s Group Executive Management will have the following members after the changes:

•Sigve Brekke, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
•Jørgen C. Arentz Rostrup, EVP and Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
•Cecilie Blydt Heuch, EVP and Chief People Officer
•Anne Kvam, EVP, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer (effective 1 October)
•Ruza Sabanovic, EVP and Head of Technologies and Services
•Svein Henning Kirkeng, EVP and Head of Products and Marketing
•Morten Karlsen Sørby, EVP, acting Cluster Head Scandinavia (for one year)
•Petter Furberg, EVP, Cluster Head, Emerging Asia (until he starts as CEO, Telenor Norway)
•Albern Murty, EVP, Developed Asia Cluster and CEO of Digi