CORRECTED-Kremlin backs ex-TV boss Kalugin as new Rostelecom CEO-report

Wed Mar 27, 2013 1:56am EDT

(Corrects headline to fix spelling of surname)

MOSCOW, March 27 (Reuters) - The Kremlin has backed former cable TV boss Sergei Kalugin to take charge at Rostelecom , weeks after an ally of President Vladimir Putin bought a stake in the state-controlled operator, according to news reports.

The Kommersant and Vedomosti dailies reported that the appointment of Kalugin was imminent. A source close to the Rostelecom board told Reuters the matter could be raised "at any moment" during a board meeting on Wednesday.

The development comes weeks after Arkady Rotenberg, a construction oligarch close to Putin, took a 10.7 percent stake in Rostelecom in a move seen by analysts as a sign that CEO Alexander Provotorov may be on his way out.

The government, which owns 53 percent of Rostelecom via state holding company Svyazinvest, has been critical of its weak share price and of management's plans to expand in the competitive mobile market.

The Prime news agency this month said Provotorov looked set to lose his place on the board after the government backed a list of candidates that did not include him.

Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told Vedomosti and Kommersant he could not confirm the reports of Kalugin's likely apopointment. (Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Writing by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Ron Popeski)

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