Saudi Telecom Appoints Khalid Bin Hussain Biyari As CEO

Biyari’s current roles include senior vice president for technology and operations, and vice chairman of affiliate Viva Kuwait.

Saudi Telecom Co (STC) has appointed Khalid bin Hussain Biyari as chief executive, the Gulf’s largest telecom operator by market value said on Tuesday, nearly two years after his predecessor resigned.

Biyari will assume his new role on April 27, according to a statement to Riyadh’s bourse. His current roles include senior vice president for technology and operations, and vice chairman of affiliate Viva Kuwait, the statement added.

The previous chief executive Khaled al-Ghoneim quit in March 2013 citing “special circumstances” after less than a year at the helm.

Chairman Abdulaziz al-Sugair swiftly took over as acting CEO, and is expected to remain in that role until Biyari takes up his new post.

Sugair oversaw STC’s renewed focus on its home market, helping turn around the fortunes of the former monopoly, which own stakes in operators in the Gulf, Turkey, South Africa and Asia.

STC’s annual profits slumped to a 10-year low in 2012, but it reported four straight quarters of more than 50 per cent profit growth from the third quarter of 2013 onwards.

That earnings trajectory has weakened, however, with third-quarter 2014 profit near-flat year-on-year, while on Monday the company posted a 33 per cent drop in fourth-quarter profit that missed analyst estimates due to higher expenses and losses on investments.

Domestically, STC competes with Etihad Etisalat (Mobily), an affiliate of Abu Dhabi-listed Etisalat, and Zain Saudi, part-owned by Kuwait’s Zain.