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M1 CEO Karen Kooi to retire on Dec 6; replacement unveiled

KAREN Kooi, the chief executive of telco M1, will retire next month, after holding the post for nine years.

She hands the reins over on Dec 6 to Manjot Singh Mann, the regional CEO for Nasdaq-listed cloud software firm Pareteum Corp, according to filings on Monday on the Singapore Exchange website.

Ms Kooi, 64, will be an adviser to the board until Feb 28, 2019, which M1 said was "to ensure a smooth transition". The company veteran will also remain a board director, owing to the ongoing general offer that Keppel Corp and Business Times owner Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) have jointly made for M1.

Mr Mann, 53, joined Pareteum in August 2018. He was previously CEO of Hutchison Telecommunications in Indonesia from 2006 to 2014, and later the CEO of communications and convergence for Britain's Lebara Mobile from 2014 to 2018.

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M1 disclosed in its filing that Mr Mann, whose country of principal residence was given as India, has no prior experience as a director of a listed company. But chairman Danny Teoh said in a media statement that Mr Mann "has embedded innovation and digital strategies successfully into operations led by him".

"The M1 board is confident that Manjot is well suited to lead M1 in this increasingly competitive landscape, with his global perspective for future growth and unique multi-dimensional view of the industry, having managed an operator in a highly competitive market and led an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) across Europe, and more recently, as a leader in an industry helping connect consumers and devices across geographies with the development of products and solutions that promote open mobility," added Mr Teoh.

He also said that Ms Kooi "has served M1 with distinction in the last 23 years", helping to turn the telco from a pure mobile communications player into a full-service provider.

"During her tenure as CEO, M1's fixed services revenue grew steadily, achieving double-digit growth in the last five years," said Mr Teoh. "And in more recent times, Karen has overseen M1's acceleration into the (information and communications technology) business and the strengthening of its product offerings to capture new opportunities in the digital economy."

M1 ended lower by S$0.01, or 0.47 per cent, at S$2.10, before the announcement. Keppel Corp and SPH are offering S$2.06 for each share in the telco that they do not already hold.