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News Update (September 18, 2009 07:24 PM...)

Zain Nigeria appoints new CEO

The Board of Zain Nigeria on Friday announced the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Alain Sainte-Marie.

Mr. Alain Sainte-Marie replaces Mr. Bayo Ligali who, according to the Board of Directors of the company, has moved on to pursue other interests after a three-year stint as CEO of the telecommunications company.

Sainte-Marie will immediately assume leadership of Zain Nigeria, overseeing the company's continuing market expansion and quest for industry leadership.

Prior to his appointment as CEO of Zain Nigeria, Sainte-Marie who has over 24 years of working experience in Information Technology business, was the Managing Director of Zain Gabon, a position he took up in March 2009.

As Managing Director of Zain Gabon, he helped to sustain the companyís market leadership position and maintain its streak as the operation with the highest ARPU amongst ZAIN Africa operations despite the entry of a fourth mobile operator and rise in the tide of competition in the African country.

Notably, he worked in Nigeria between November 2008 and February 2009 as Special Adviser to the former CEO, assisting him to implement a business transformation process including culture change, a key requirement for a successful turnaround of the operation.

Sainte-Marie has also previously occupied other strategic management positions within Zain including Director of Operations, Middle East and previously as CEO of IRAQNA (a Zain Group acquired operation in Iraq), a position he occupied until June 2008.

He also worked held several senior positions in the leading telecom companies including the position of Chief Financial Officer of ORASCOM Telecom, Tunisia SA (OTT); Chief Financial Officer, ORASCOM Telecom Holding S.A.E, Head of Budgeting Controlling and Planning Department, France Telecom Mobile, Lebanon, S.A.L (FTML), and Deputy Chief Financial Officer, France Telecom Mobile, Lebanon, S.A.L (FTML).

The outgoing CEO, Bayo Ligali, has been instrumental to the transformation of the company in the past three years.

Ligali, a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (UK) and an Associate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, joined Zain (formerly Celtel Nigeria) in October 2006 after a long career in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry, which saw him rising to the position of CEO of the Unilever Group in East Africa.

During his three year stay at Zain Nigeria, Ligali re-invigorated the once subdued telecommunications company and galvanized the workforce into committing to reclaiming the top position in the telecommunications industry.

Between May 2006, when Vee Networks Limited changed to Celtel Nigeria Limited, and end of August 2008, the company, under Ligaliís watch, more than tripled its subscriber base.

During his tenure, the business also attracted over $1 billion in investment from the Zain Group for network upgrade leading to significant gains in capacity, coverage and quality. In 2007, the company signed a $100 million agreement with Nokia-Siemens for the construction of a 4,000 km Fibre Optic Backbone (the longest/widest in Nigeria) and another $50 million to expand its Microwave backbone from 3000km to 5,000 km.

Ligali also ensured that Zain took proactive initiatives to manage the power generation challenges facing the industry, which include swapping of old generators with brand new, purpose-built sets and dualization of generating sets at its cell sites.

He further completed a National Network Monitoring Centre valued at $10 million, this year with World class facilities to proactively monitor and intervene in network issues.

A major significance of Mr. Ligaliís appointment was the fact he was the first Chief Executive Officer of the business from inception till date, to be appointed to the Board. Also, it underscored the commitment of the Zain Group to empower Nigerians with world-class leadership skills and technical competence to drive its investment in Nigeria.

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