Telenor’s Baksaas to succeed Bernabe as GSMA chairman

The GSM Association (GSMA) has announced that Telenor’s Jon Fredrik Baksaas will serve as its chairman for the remainder of the current Board term, which is set to expire in December 2014.

Baksaas had been appointed as acting chairman following the resignation of Telecom Italia’s (Milan, Italy) Franco Bernabe, who quit his GSMA shortly after stepping down as boss of the Italian phone incumbent.

The GSM Association (GSMA) has announced that Telenor’s Jon Fredrik Baksaas will serve as its chairman for the remainder of the current Board term, which is set to expire in December 2014.

Baksaas had been appointed as acting chairman following the resignation of Telecom Italia’s (Milan, Italy) Franco Bernabe, who quit his GSMA shortly after stepping down as boss of the Italian phone incumbent.

At the time, the GSMA had said Baksaas would assume Bernabe’s former responsibilities until a full-time successor was found, but the group appears to have settled on the Telenor (Fornebu, Norway) chief executive as a suitable replacement for

Bernabe over the remainder of his term.

Baksaas’ responsibilities will include overseeing the GSMA’s strategic direction, noted the organization, which represents almost 800 of the world’s mobile operators, besides another 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem.

“Connecting even more of the world’s population to the mobile internet is a top priority, and to address this the GSMA will continue to focus on the future evolution of our networks, the adoption of secure and interoperable new services and advocate for the needs of our industry to governments and regulators,” said Baksaas, in setting out his vision.

Baksaas has been chief executive of Norwegian incumbent Telenor since 2002 as well as deputy chairman of the GSMA since 2011.

“We are at a critical juncture in the development of the mobile communications industry, as we see an ever-increasing number of people, devices and things becoming connected by mobile,” said Anne Bouverot, the GSMA’s director-general. “I am looking forward to working with Jon Fredrik and the entire GSMA Board to develop global and regional programs that will drive future growth and investment in mobile services, and deliver the social and economic benefits that mobile can provide to men and women around the world.”

Bernabe resigned from the leadership position of Telecom Italia after falling out with key shareholders over the strategy the Italian operator should adopt to reduce its substantial debts.