MOSCOW Russian mobile phone operator MegaFon named a former UK minister to be an independent director as it tries to smooth investor worries about how the company is run before a $2 billion share listing.
MegaFon MGFON.UL, controlled since April by metals tycoon Alisher Usmanov, is marketing its initial public offering (IPO) to investors, aiming to raise around $2 billion for Nordic telecoms group TeliaSonera (TLSN.ST), which is cutting its stake, and itself.
The IPO, due to be completed later this month, was clouded by the surprise withdrawal of U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs (GS.N) as an underwriter due to what one source said were unspecified shareholding concerns.
MegaFon reacted in October by saying the make-up of its board would reflect its commitment to good corporate governance. The board will comprise two independent non-executive directors, two directors nominated by TeliaSonera and three directors nominated by Usmanov's AF Telecom.
The nomination of former Treasury Minister Paul Myners, also former Chairman of British retailer Marks & Spencer (MKS.L), will take effect following a formal nomination process and shareholder approval, MegaFon said in a statement on Monday.
"With the appointment of Lord Myners MegaFon will have a balanced board ... which puts in place a strong corporate governance structure," said MegaFon CEO Ivan Tavrin.
The announcement came as another former government minister, Peter Mandelson, was appointed chairman of financial advisers Lazard International, part of investment bank Lazard (LAZ.N), according to a parliamentary register.
Mandelson, secretary of state for business under the UK's previous Labour government, had been a senior adviser at Lazard since January 2011. Lazard International's former chairman, veteran banker Ken Costa, stepped down last year.