Spotify founder named for revamped TeliaSonera board

Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:03am GMT

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* Owner committee outlines board shake-up

* Proposes six new members, re-election of 2

STOCKHOLM Feb 14 (Reuters) - The founder and chairman of digital music service Spotify is among six new names proposed for TeliaSonera's board as the Nordic telecom operator moved to revamp its leadership in the wake of a controversial network licensing deal in central Asia.

TeliaSonera's nomination committee on Thursday proposed replacing all but two members of its board, naming Spotify's Martin Lorentzon, former SAS CEO Mats Jansson and Fortum head Tapio Kuula among the new members.

"The conclusion of the Nomination Committee is that TeliaSonera needs a new start in many respects," the company said in a statement.

TeliaSonera is in the middle of a sweeping management shake-up amid allegations of involvement in corruption in Uzbekistan that have embarrassed and angered its biggest shareholder, the Swedish government.

Following media reports, prosecutors last year launched an investigation into the allegations of bribery and money laundering in connection of its 2.3 billion crown ($365 million) purchase of a telecom license in the central Asian country.

Heads have rolled as a result of the controversy, with Chief Executive Lars Nyberg stepping down earlier this month while Marie Ehrling, a well-respected former executive at both Telia and airline SAS, was proposed as new chairwoman.

Lorentzon is one of the founders of Spotify, the Swedish start-up digital music service that has racked up 20 million active users worldwide in the course of a rapid expansion.

Along with Ehrling, six new members were proposed, also including Neste Oil board member Nina Linander, and Kersti Strandqvist, head of corporate sustainability at Swedish hygiene and paper products maker SCA.

The committee also recommended re-election to the board of former Nokia Chief Olli-Pella Kallasvuo and former Ericsson executive Per-Arne Sandstrom.

Both Kallasvuo and Sandstrom joined the board of the telecom operator after the main business deals concerning the purchase of the 3G license in Uzbekistan had been struck.

The search for a replacement for Nyberg at the helm of TeliaSonera, whose push into emerging markets has been its main earnings driver, can only begin in earnest once a new board is elected at the annual general meeting on April 3. ($1 = 6.2992 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Niklas Pollard; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)