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Total Access Names Brekke CEO After Eddy Abdullah Quits

Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Total Access Communication Pcl, Thailand’s second-biggest mobile-phone operator, named Telenor ASA’s Asian head as its interim chief executive officer after Jon Eddy Abdullah resigned for reasons that weren’t disclosed.

Sigve Brekke, the head of Asian operations at parent Telenor and former CEO at Total Access, will serve until a new chief is identified, Bangkok-based Total Access said in a statement. The resignation of Eddy Abdullah, who joined the company in 2011, is effective today.

“In 2011, Thailand was still at an early stage in the adoption of Internet-based services,” Chairman Boonchai Bencharongkul said in the statement. “Today, the country is at the forefront of digital services usage in Asia. Succeeding in this environment requires a tremendous ability to constantly innovate and transform to meet customer expectations.”

Total Access’s profit fell 11 percent in the second quarter from the preceding period and the company said service revenue probably wouldn’t grow this year because of increased competition and declining demand for voice services. More than six months of political unrest that culminated in a military coup in May also damped spending in the first half, it said.

“The overall mobile-phone industry in Thailand has been greatly affected by the economic slowdown and Total Access is no exception,” Chaiwat Arsirwichai, an analyst at UOB Kay Hian Securities (Thailand) Pcl, said by phone. “The company’s management can’t do much on the revenue side, but what it is trying to do is controlling the costs.”

China Mobile

Shares of Total Access have declined 11 percent since the start of June, when speculation grew that smaller rival True Corp. may tie up with an international partner. True, which agreed to sell an 18 percent stake to China Mobile Ltd. on June 9, has gained 78 percent over the same period. Total Access fell 0.5 percent to 107 baht at the close in Bangkok trading, the lowest level since Aug. 19, after today’s announcement.

Total Access had a 31 percent share of the market in Thailand in the first half, compared with 52 percent for Advanced Info Service Pcl and 17 percent for True, Fitch Ratings said in an Aug. 26 report.

Total Access didn’t give a reason for the departure of Eddy Abdullah. On-uma Vattanasuk Rerkpattanapipat, a spokeswoman for the Thai wireless carrier and Tor Odland, the Bangkok-based spokesman for Fornebu, Norway-based Telenor, declined to comment further.

“Total Access Communication has been known for its rotation of CEOs,” said Chaiwat from UOB Kay-Hian. “With the departure of the current one, it’s unlikely to have a significant impact on the company. In addition, business strategy and policies have been guided by Telenor.”

Eddy Abdullah is a former CEO of Telenor Pakistan.

To contact the reporters on this story: Tony Jordan in Bangkok at tjordan3@bloomberg.net; Anuchit Nguyen in Bangkok at anguyen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lars Klemming at lklemming@bloomberg.net Tony Jordan, Suresh Seshadri

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