A day after Cellcom CEO Amos Shapira announced his retirement from the company, Calcalist has learned that Shapira was offered the position of Ministry of Finance Director General by the Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz.
However, at the present talks are at a slow pace and estimates are that Shapira might turn down the offer in light of the Ministry's administrative structure wherein division heads who are not subordinate to the Director General have a broad jurisdiction. Since former Director General Chaim Shani stepped down in late July, the position has yet to be filled.
Shapira endorses Stern
Shapira and Nochi Dankner, controlling shareholder of Cellcom's parent company IDB, have been holding a series of talks over past weeks to formulate Shapira's retirement plan. He will effectively end his job on January 1 2012. Cellcom's share responded to the news with a 1.9% decline contrary to the trend on TASE yesterday indicating a negative sentiment among investors towards the move.
New CEO Nir Stern's first chore as chief of Cellcom would be to streamline the merged company's operations on the backdrop of forthcoming regulatory reforms. Shapira himself preferred to keep Cellcom and Netvision separate entities but was forced to go along with the merger due to the conditions on the communications market.
Under Shapira's leadership, Cellcom posted a consistent rise in earnings from NIS 5.62 billion in 2006 to NIS 6.66 billion by the end of 2010. The company's growth was expressed in Shapira's compensation, the overall cost of which totaled over NIS 50 million. In 2010, Shapira earned NIS 5.9 million (gross pay and bonuses, stock options not included).
After leaving Cellcom, Shapira will continue to enjoy a monthly gross salary of NIS 190,000 in addition to amenities such as a company car and personal expenses of NIS 9,000 for a period of nine months.
'Dankner wants a conservative CEO'
Under Stern's year and a half long leadership, Netvision ended the first half of 2011 with record gains of NIS 52 million and with earnings of NIS 640 million.
"Stern has in-depth knowledge of the industry and mobile and internet. He is a decent person and has vast experience, despite his young age", a senior source in IDB said. Another source in the company said "Dankner realizes that Cellcom can no longer be the cash cow it used to be as the golden age of cellular has declined which is why he prefers a conservative manager who is less dominant than Shapira".
Cellcom chairman, Ami Erel imparted: "I am confident Nir will continue to lead the merger between Netvision and Cellcom towards the formation of a strong, stable and consolidated group and that his amicable personality, management prowess and familiarity with the market will lead the group to new heights."
Stern imparted: "This is a very exciting day for me. I'm coming full circle today and am receiving a leading and exceptional enterprise which was headed by a CEO who led it to record achievements and made it a paragon company for the Israeli industry."
IDB chairman Nochi Dankner said that Shapira "is handing back a company which is a leader in any financial measure and which has a leading reputation." As regards the appointment of Stern, Dankner said that the nomination was "an excellent choice thanks to Stern's experience in the cellular and internet markets'.
Click here to read this report in Hebrew
Gilad Ness and Snir Handler contributed to the report