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Orascom chairman Sawiris steps down

May 19, 2011 • Top Stories

Naguib Sawiris, Egyptian business tycoon (Image: file photo)

Business tycoon and Egypt’s Orascom Telecom CEO, Naguib Sawiris, announced he would step down as executive chairman of the company as he begins to move toward more involvement in the country’s changing political sphere.

It comes only days after the company appointed a new chief to oversee the telecom company’s operations.

Sawiris has become more involved in the political meanderings of Egyptian life since a popular uprising ousted President Hosni Mubarak on February 11. He has even started a new political party aimed at bringing democracy to the country through dialogue and understanding.

Sawiris was the key architect in seeing the completion of a $6 billion deal with Russian operator Vimpelcom last month for his holding company Wind Telecom, including a majority stake in Orascom and all of Italy’s Wind.

The cash-and-shares deal gave Sawiris 30.6 percent of Vimpelcom.

“Personally, I have decided to be more focused on social and political work, aiming to play a role in the transformation of post-revolution Egypt into a civil democracy,” Sawiris said in a statement.

“Yet I will continue to support the business as one of the largest shareholders at the Vimpelcom level.”

By Desmond Shephard

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