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Belgacom appoints first female CEO after predecessor fired
January 9, 2014 / 2:20 PM / 4 years ago

Belgacom appoints first female CEO after predecessor fired

* First female CEO for Belgium’s largest telecoms group

* To earn much less than predecessor

* Joined Belgacom in 2011 after 24 year at Unilever

BRUSSELS, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Dominique Leroy, head of Belgacom’s consumer business division, was appointed group chief executive on Thursday, two months after the government fired her outspoken predecessor.

Leroy, who becomes the first woman to head Belgacom and currently the only female CEO among companies in Belgium’s blue chip Bel20 Index, received the blessing of the Belgian government, the group’s largest shareholder with a stake of 53.5 percent.

After some 24 years with Unilever , where she was managing director of the Benelux operations, Leroy joined Belgacom in 2011 as head of the consumer business, which offers telecom services to more than 3.5 million customers.

Leroy, 49, will earn significantly less than her predecessor Didier Bellens, who received about 2.5 million euros ($3.4 million) including bonuses in 2012, as the government has capped the salaries of the heads of state-owned companies at 650,000 euros.

Bellens was dismissed after his repeated criticism of the Belgian government and local authorities.

Belgacom competes with mobile phone groups Mobistar , KPN’s BASE and cable operators Telenet , Voo and Numericable.

Its mobile phone operations, the largest business by number of customers, has suffered from a mix of regulatory caps on tariffs such as when using phones abroad.

The Belgian market in particular was hit by a new law which limits the maximum duration of customer contracts to six months, which has led to more competition. ($1 = 0.7353 euros) (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Philip Blenkinsop and David Holmes)

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