Scott Gegenheimer to stay at Kuwait-based telco as CEO of operations.

Zain has appointed a new CEO, and a new chairman to lead the company following a tumultuous 2016 for the telco.

Bader Al-Kharafi was chosen to become CEO by the Kuwait-based operator’s board at a meeting on Sunday. He succeeds Scott Gegenheimer, who has been appointed CEO of operations for the group. Al-Kharafi was also named vice chairman.

Zain’s board also elected Mohannad Al Kharafi as its new chairman.

The appointments were made a little less than a month after the company reported a 4.4% fall in full-year revenue in 2016. Gross profit fell 6.4%.

"The result of several factors beyond our control negatively impacted our overall operational performance in 2016, as we witnessed worsening social economic developments affecting Zain operations in Iraq and Sudan," Al-Kharafi explained.

Indeed, the Sudanese pound was devalued by 60% versus the U.S. dollar at the beginning of November, wiping $92 million and $38 million off Zain’s full-year revenue and EBITDA respectively.

"Amidst these difficult circumstances, Zain still made strategic and operational progress, and in Saudi Arabia, for example, the decision from the Communications and Information Technology Commission to extend Zain Saudi Arabia’s licence for an additional 15 years was a significant boost to the operation there," Al-Kharafi said.

Furthermore, Zain’s Iraq unit reached a negotiated settlement with the government related to the imposition of a capital gains tax on its acquisition of Iraqna in 2007. The deal resulted in the lifting of restrictions on the trading of Zain Iraq’s shares, access to its bank deposits, and the waiving of penalties and interest on taxes.

Going forward, Zain said it aims to capitalise on opportunities in the smart cities and enterprise sectors.

"We are committed to our strategy to leverage our strengths, including our people, brand, customer experience, cutting edge technology innovations, and geographic coverage in our bid to become a diversified and innovative digital lifestyle operator," Al-Kharafi said.