The Belgian government has fired Didier Bellens as CEO of Belgacom, in which it has a 53.5 per cent stake. The move followed recent comments about Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo and the telco’s dividends, as well as an accumulation of similar incidents.
In a statement, the Board of Directors of Belgacom said it had taken note of the Government’s decision to end the collaboration with Bellens, and that to ensure management continuity, and in the interests of the company and all its stakeholders, it had decided to delegate the powers of the CEO with immediate effect to Ray Stewart, Executive Vice President Finance and Chief Financial Officer, Stefaan De Clerck, Chairman of the Belgacom Board of Directors. Stewart will also chair the Management Committee. “Together with Belgacom’s entire management team, they will see to it that the daily functioning of the company continues in a serene and efficient way,” said the Board.
A recruitment process has been initiated with the aim of making an early appointment.
“Belgacom has all the assets to successfully meet the challenges in the telecom sector,” said De Clerck. “We have a clear vision for the future, the right strategy and talented people that make the difference. Since 1997, Ray Stewart has helped build this solid foundation, and is therefore ideally placed to ensure a smooth transition period. For this he has the explicit support of the entire Board of Directors and the whole management team.”
Prior to being appointed Belgacom CEO in 2003, Bellens served as CEO of the RTL Group created through the merger of CLT-UFA and Pearson Television (now FremantleMedia), where he focused on the group’s international expansion. Previously he was Managing Director at Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, playing an instrumental role in the merger between AXA and Royale Belge, and the change and the negotiations leading to the merger between CLT (Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Télédiffusion) and UFA.