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By Guillermo Parra-Bernal
SAO PAULO, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Telefónica Brasil SA said on Sunday that Chief Executive Officer Amos Genish has stepped down citing unspecified personal reasons, leading the country's biggest wireless carrier to move faster with a planned transition.
In a securities filing, Telefónica Brasil said Genish will be replaced by executive Eduardo Navarro de Carvalho, currently Chief Commercial Digital Officer at parent company Telefónica SA. After leaving on Dec. 31, Genish will keep a board seat and lead Telefónica Brasil's strategy committee, the filing said.
Reuters reported earlier in the day, citing two people with knowledge of the matter, that Genish was going to step down. One of them said the Israel-born executive, who expected to announce his departure in November or December, was considering an offer by Spain's Telefónica to join British mobile operator O2 Holdings.
The media office of Telefónica Brasil declined to comment beyond what the regulatory filing stated. Efforts to reach out to both Genish and Navarro for comment were unsuccessful.
According to one of the people, Navarro - who joined parent company Telefónica in 1999 - will help Telefónica Brasil capitalize on faster expansion of digital services as the company moves away from a model based on offering voice and Internet connection.
Genish and executives at Telefónica Brasil will discuss his departure at a conference call on Monday, the filing said.
After only 17 months into the job, Genish attained bigger-than-expected cost savings stemming from Telefónica Brasil's purchase of carrier GVT SA - which he founded in 1999. Under his tenure, Telefónica Brasil grew at the expense of rivals and became the nation's most profitable carrier in spite of a recession not seen in more than eight decades.
Preferred shares in São Paulo-based Telefónica Brazil, which owns the Vivo mobile phone brand, have gained 37 percent this year, outperforming rivals TIM Participações SA and Oi SA - which filed for creditor protection in June. (Additional reporting by Ana Mano in São Paulo; Editing by Alistair Bell and Diane Craft)