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Zain Group CEO honored by TMT Finance MENA Gegenheimer named CEO of the Year

KUWAIT CITY, May 11: Zain Group, a pioneer of mobile telecommunications in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa, is proud to announce that its Group CEO, Scott Gegenheimer, has been recognized as the CEO of the Year at the prestigious TMT Finance MENA 2014 Awards Ceremony hosted in Dubai last week. Gegenheimer was awarded the accolade by the London-based TMT Finance entity for a number of compelling reasons as he and his senior management team have enhanced the operating model between the Group and the eight operations. This is aimed at extracting further synergies meant to transform Zain Group from being a pure mobile consumer play to becoming a mobile-plus integrated consumer and enterprise player.

Since being appointed CEO of Zain Group in December 2012, Gegenheimer has established numerous strategic priorities and initiatives that are aimed at maintaining Zain’s relevance in the market and further improving its commercial prospects going forward.  Furthermore, Gegenheimer’s impact on the operator’s disclosure and transparency policy is that for the first time in numerous years, Zain Group’s management opened up to scrutiny from the international analyst community by hosting regular quarterly conference calls, offering details and insights into the company’s financial performance and strategic direction. This included referencing a number of problem areas and discussing what plans are afoot to resolve them. In addition Gegenheimer has continued to add to his senior management team to bring expertise, fresh perspectives, and dynamism to the business and complement the skill sets of the company’s existing talent.

Robusts
Zain Group operations have already responded positively to Gegenheimer’s influence with the company reporting robust revenues of $1.1 billion (up 4%), and net income of $198.4 million (up 8%) for first quarter 2014, with Group digital traffic and revenues (excluding SMS & VAS) recording a healthy 27% growth rate year-on-year, with data reflecting 15% Zain Group’s total service revenues at the end of the first quarter of 2014. With respect to customer numbers, Zain Group operations saw a healthy 5% annual increase during 2013 to serve 46.2 million customers, and remaining the market leader in six of its eight operations.

Commenting on awarding the TMT CEO of the Year accolade to Gegenheimer, the 10-member TMT Finance MENA 2014 Awards judging panel commented, “It is clear to see the demonstrable impact that Gegenheimer has had on Zain Group in the last 12 months, as the company looks to continue growing and succeeding in a hyper-competitive environment. The substantial investments the company is making in 4G infrastructure and customer experience management are commendable, and we believe through Gegenheimer’s vision and enthusiasm, further gains are set to be achieved by the company.”

Upon being notified of his selection as the 2014 recipient of the TMT CEO of the Year award, Scott Gegenheimer, Zain Group CEO said, “I appreciate the judging panel’s recognition. When I arrived at the company at the end of 2012, it was clear it had incredible assets in place including its staff, network, footprint, and brand. What was necessary was to focus and enhance these assets in order to operate them at their maximum effectiveness, and I believe our strategy will continue to yield positive results.”

As a social media savvy person, Gegenheimer has made a concerted effort to enhance Zain’s social media presence. Accordingly Zain today has over 5 million social media fans and most recently a CSR campaign focused on raising the awareness of not using mobile devices while driving (called “Drive Zain”) saw over 4 million fans view the TV commercial on YouTube in a space of just two months. There is little doubt that Gegenheimer has re-instilled a sense of direction to Zain and its employees, to the benefit of shareholders and the wider communities that it serves. End

Zain is a leading telecommunications operator across the Middle East and Africa providing mobile voice and data services to over 46.2 million active customers as of March 31, 2014. With a commercial presence in 8 countries, Zain operates in: Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and South Sudan. In Lebanon, the Group manages ‘touch’ on behalf of the government. In Morocco, Zain has a 15.5% stake in ‘INWI’, through a joint venture. Zain is listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (stock ticker: ZAIN).

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