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Portugal Telecom CEO to lead Brazil’s Oi

Zeinal Bava, CEO of Brazilian operator Oi, will head the merged entity CorpCo

The CEO of Portugal Telecom (PT) Zeinal Bava has been appointed to lead Brazilian operation Oi, in which PT holds a 23.34 per cent stake. PT chairman Henrique Granadeiro will take on the position of PT CEO in addition to his existing responsibilities.

At a WeDo Technologies user group in May Bava spoke at length about the importance of Brazil as a growth market where he would look to apply lessons learned in Portugal.

“Portugal is a small market and we need to treat it as a beta market for us to test new concepts and business models that we can then take to other markets that are much bigger and where we can hopefully make big bucks,” Bava said.

In an hour-long speech at the event, Bava offered insights into what his plans for Oi might be. He stressed the importance of sustained network investment and multi-play offerings as a means of reducing churn. “If we cannot have a relationship with customers of seven or eight years then we are not able to earn enough returns on those customers,” he said.

Bava’s move to Oi has been much anticipated within Portugal, where he is one of the most popular CEOs. At last month’s event he made no secret of the importance of Brazil to the future of PT. “You’ve got to be big because scale is important in this sector, so you can command the right pricing and get access to technology in a timely manner. International diversification is fundamental. Brazil is absolutely critical, it’s the market where we the management are dedicating most of our time right now.”

Oi is currently fourth in the Brazilian mobile market, with 49.5 million customers at the end of March, according to Informa’s WCIS Plus.


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