Erstwhile Telecom Italia chief executive Franco Bernabe has resigned from his role as chairman of the GSM Association.
The move was expected, coming shortly after Bernabe stood down from his position as chairman and chief executive of Italian phone incumbent Telecom Italia (Milan, Italy).
In a statement, the GSMA, an organization that represents the interests of the global mobile industry, said Bernabe’s responsibilities would pass to deputy chairman Jon Fredrik Baksaas, the chief executive of Norwegian incumbent Telenor (Fornebu, Norway), until it finds a permanent replacement.
The GSMA said it plans to announce a new chairman as soon as next month.
“On behalf of the entire GSMA board, I would like to express our deep gratitude to Franco for his leadership and commitment over the last three years,” said Anne Bouverot, the GSMA’s director general.
“Franco has been a passionate advocate for a forward-looking and collaborative approach in addressing the challenges facing our industry, and it has been a privilege to work with him,” added Bouverot. “I am now looking forward to working with Jon Fredrik, our board and our membership to enable simple and secure digital services for men and women around the world.”
Bernabe quit Telecom Italia earlier this month under pressure from shareholders disappointed at the operator’s performance under his tenure.
Telco, a consortium led by Spain’s Telefonica (Madrid) that owns 22.4% of Telecom Italia, is thought to be keen on selling assets in Latin America as a way of reducing debts, but Bernabe had reportedly clashed with the group on this issue, believing asset sales would weaken the operator’s international profile.
Earlier this week, new chief executive Marco Patuano – the former chief operating officer – denied that Telecom Italia had already put on sale its 67% stake in Brazil’s TIM Participacoes in response to earlier press speculation.