Former Serbian president Boris Tadic becomes advisor at Telenor

By bne IntelliNews November 21, 2013

Former Serbian president Boris Tadic has become a member of Norway’s Telenor advisory panel for Europe, daily Blic reported on Nov 21.

Tadic told Blic his new engagement has no connection with his political carrier, adding he already participates in a number of advisory institutions across the world.

Tadic also rejected the daily’s initial interpretation of the news, which claimed the former president found a new employment at Telenor. “I became a member of their ad-hoc advisory body that will meet once or twice a year. I continue to be engaged in politics in Serbia and in international institutions,” he clarified in a later statement.

According to him, the sectors of telecommunications and energy have major impact on politics and political developments, while people in Serbia still have little understanding of this. Therefore, he accepts as a challenge these two sectors, as well as the understanding of how one of the largest companies in the world (Telenor) functions.

Tadic and his Democratic Party (DS) were defeated at the latest general and presidential elections in Serbia held in May 2012. As a result DS lost power and turned into opposition - shortly after in November 2012 Tadic stepped down as a party leader and remained an honorary DS president. He had spent eight years as Serbia’s president and also eight on top of DS (2004-2012 in both cases).

Tadic declined to tell Blic whether he intends to engage more actively in politics and in DS, saying this is a subject to be discussed at another occasion.

Telenor entered Serbia in July 2006 when it bought existing mobile operator Mobi 063 for EUR 1.5bn. In 2011, Telenor became the leading mobile operator in Serbia in terms of revenue for a first time since entering the country, outperforming state-controlled Telekom Srbija. The two of them compete also with Vip Mobile, owned by Telekom Austria - the youngest operator in Serbia.

Moreover, Telenor Serbia agreed in April 2013 to buy a local bank, acquiring 100% of the shares of Belgium's KBC subsidiary in Belgrade. The deal was executed in partnership with Societe Generale Srbija, which on the other hand agreed to acquire KBC Banka’s key assets and deposits. Telenor is not expected to get involved into classical banking (considering its core business is telephony services) but most likely aims to develop electronic and Internet retail banking. The Norwegian company already has a bank in Pakistan.

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