Venezuela’s government yesterday appointed Socorro Hernandez as the new CEO and chairwoman of CANTV’s board. Hernandez was previously an oil sector executive. The state appointed a complete new team of directors for the national telco, including: Euclides Campos Aponte (from the Ministry of Defence), Franco Silva and Elba Rodríguez (both from the Ministry of Telecommunications), Nury Orijuela (Ministry of Science and Technology), Jesús Villanueva (Ministry of Petroleum) and Angel Belisario (Ministry of Light Industries and Trade). The new team will be officially appointed on 4 July. Earlier this month the government raised its ownership in CANTV to 86.2%, through share offers on the New York and Caracas stock exchanges, and via the USD572 million purchase of US-based Verizon Communications’ 28.5% stake. Telecoms Minister Jesse Chacon declared that the takeover of CANTV is part of a march toward a ‘new socialist state’, and predicted that ‘Venezuelans are going to feel an increase in quality, an increase in coverage.’ CANTV, which was previously privatised in the early 1990s, has around 3.5 million fixed line customers, 500,000 broadband internet subscribers, over eight million mobile phone users (through wholly owned subsidiary Movilnet) and nearly 13,000 employees.
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