Paarma stepping down

  • 2003-04-10

Tapio Paarma is resigning as managing director of Lithuania's fixed-line telephone provider Lietuvos Telekomas as of May 1, the company announced April 3.

Kjell-Ove Blom, head of the Polish telecommunications company Netia Poland, will temporarily replace Paarma until a new managing director is appointed.

Erik Hallberg, senior vice president of TeliaSonera, the Scandinavian company that holds a 60 percent stake in Lietuvos Telekomas, said the search for a permanent replacement would begin immediately.

"We want to see a Lithuanian national as managing director of Telekomas," Hallberg said. "His task would be further development of the company."

With a view to ensuring smooth operations in the transitional period, Paarma, 54, will work as chief aide to the new managing director until year's end. Paarma will take another position within TeliaSonera.

Paarma has headed Lietuvos Telekomas since 1998, when Sweden's Telia and Finland's Sonera, which later merged into TeliaSonera, acquired a majority interest in the Lithuanian company for $510 million.

Under Paarma's leadership, Lietuvos Telekomas substantially upgraded its fixed-line phone network and replaced analog networks with digital upgrades.

Since 1998 the company has increased digital coverage from 20 percent to about 90 percent, according to a company statement.

The Lietuvos Telekomas group posted revenues of 968.2 million litas (280.64 million euros) last year, down 8.5 percent from 2001. The company's audited net profit dropped to 67.03 million litas last year.

As of late 2002, Lietuvos Telekomas operated 935,900 fixed lines, down 18.7 percent from late 2001.