Myanmar/Burma has awarded lucrative mobile telecom licences to Norway’s Telenor and the Qatari firm Ooredoo (BBC) . The head of Telenor’s successful operations in Thailand and Burma, mr. Sigve Brekke (53), is a teacher’s son who started his carriere as a politician.
Mr. Brekke and Telenor’s company in Thailand, dtac, has about 30 percent of the moble phone marked in Thailand. Now Telenor wants to be the most important mobile operator in Burma. Burma was the richest country in Asia 50 years ago, but today is among the poorest. Only 28 percents of the population have household electricity.
Mr Sigve Brekke grew up in a labour/ social democrat family. His mother and father were teachers, his father a haeadmaster and local and regional politician for the norwegian labour party. Sigve became a politician for the youth movement for the labour party, AUF, and at a young age it was clear that he had administrative talents. He became gen. secretary in the youth Labour party, and later a deputy minister in the Department of Defence. This was in the eighties and nineties. As a politician he also met his wife, Torgunn, and they now have three sons, and they live in Bangkok.
Mr Sigve Brekke got tired of politics and started to study economics at Harvard. After his degree he started to work for Telenor in Singapore, then he became the head of dtac and Telenor’s operations in Thailand. He then became the head of all asian operations, and has also been the boss of Telenor’s controversial operations in India. Brekke is a demanding, ambitious boss, but he also known for his good smile, good humour and he laughs a lot, also about himself, which espesially thai people love (look at the Youtube clip below this text)
Brekke’s success has also to do with his old connections in politics, not only in Norway’s ruling Labour party, but international connections too. When Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Price in Oslo, mostly politicians attented the receptional dinner, but a few international businessmenn were invited, too. And Sigve was, of course, present.
They say that doing business in Burma today is like doing business in China in 1978. If that is correc t, this is a very good day for Telenor and Mr. Sive Brakke.
Read more: ScandAsia