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Cellcom Falls After Naming Sztern to Replace Shapira as CEO

Cellcom Israel Ltd. (CEL) declined after Chief Executive Officer Amos Shapira resigned today after leading the company for six years. Analyst Ori Licht called the move a “real earthquake” for the company.

Shapira will be replaced by Nir Sztern, who was CEO of Cellcom’s Netvision Ltd. Internet unit, the country’s largest mobile-phone company said in a PR Newswire statement.

Shares fell 1.9 percent to 78.49 shekels at 4:26 p.m., the lowest close since Oct. 16.

Shapira is stepping down at a time when the government is introducing more price regulation and boosting competition in the wireless market, moves that have sent the TA-Com index, which comprises the country’s telecommunications companies, tumbling 24 percent in the past six months. The benchmark TA-25 index has fallen 14 percent in that period.

“Shapira was a dominating, controlling force in the company and other personnel changes wouldn’t be unexpected,” said Licht, an analyst at the Tel Aviv-based I.B.I.-Israel Brokerage Investment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gwen Ackerman in Jerusalem at gackerman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net

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