Exclusive: Naeem Zamindar and Zouhair Khaliq Confirmed as CEO and Board Director at Wateen

Mr. Tariq Malik today confirmed that his resignation was finally accepted at a Board Meeting held on December 8th, 2010. Along-with he announced that Mr. Naeem Zamindar is replacing him as CEO of the company, with support from Mr. Zouhair Khaliq as company’s new Board Director.

Mr. Malik mentioned this today morning in his farewell email to Wateen employees, which was shared with ProPakistani through sources.

Mr. Malik thanked everyone for making it possible for wateen to become world’s largest WiMAX network. He said that in 5 years Wateen earned cumulative revenue of $588mn (or Rs. 43.3bn) and operating profit of $97.1mn (or Rs. 6.9bn). The Company has built an asset base of $353m from a mere $35m initial investment.

He said that with efforts of the team, Wateen has become the goldmine With 10,000+ km of fiber optic cable connecting Pakistan, its cities and its neighbors, the largest Wireless Broadband Network in the country, the largest VSAT network in the country, the largest alternative LDI network in Pakistan, which can all be leveraged to generate significant revenues / profits.

Mr. Malik congratulated and welcomed Naeem & Zouhair.

Following is the complete excerpt of Tariq Malik’s email:

From: Tariq Malik/CEO/Wateen <[email protected]>
Date: 9 December 2010 11:23:02 GMT+05:00
Subject: Farewell & Best Wishes

Dear Wateen Team & Well Wishers

As you may be aware, I had informed the Board earlier this year that I intended to resign to pursue some alternative ideas I had. I was asked to stay on by the Board & Chairman personally to help ensure a successful IPO, “turn around” the business and find a new CEO for Wateen.

After achieving these tasks, at yesterdays Board Meeting my resignation was finally accepted and Mr Naeem Zamindar was appointed Wateen’s CEO with the support of Mr Zouhair Khaliq as our new Board Director.

During the past few months, with the hard work and dedication of the entire Wateen Team, we have been able to achieve new heights and turn the business into strong operating profits with an EBITDA position of 20% positive or Rs382m on a revenue of just under Rs2bn (as per the last reported financial quarter the EBITDA for 3 months was more than the EBITDA for the entire previous financial year).

The Sponsors have also been convinced on the potential of Wateen and have committed a further additional Financial Support of a staggering $44.5m (or Rs3.8bn); with $29.5m (or Rs2.5bn) already received and a further $15m (or Rs1.3bn) committed this month – well done and thank you all.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank ALL of you for making this happen and making this adventure Exciting, Fulfilling and Memorable. Wateen has a huge potential and I wanted to thank all those unsung heroes (whether either still at Wateen, who have moved on or those who have indirectly supported us) who have made this happen ranging from Wateen’s Senior Management Team (SMT) / Management Team who will be the driving force behind Wateen’s future to the engineers, guards, drivers, patrollers, splicer’s, cleaners and others who ensured operations run smoothly 24 / 7 / 365, including all of our customers, lenders, vendors and strategic partners who have remained committed to Wateen throughout.

In a matter of only 5 years Wateen, under a dynamic team, delivered cumulative revenue of $588mn (or Rs43.3bn) and operating profit $97.1mn (or Rs6.9bn).  The Company has built an asset base of $353m from a mere $35m initial investment. We have managed vendor deferment of $75 m as a Greenfield / New project, $108m as vendor financing through reputable organizations such as MCC ($65m) / ECGD ($43m), Rs4.7bn syndicated loan which was the largest syndicated loan last year, one of the larger Islamic Ijara Financing of Rs570m and the largest IPO of 2010 raising Rs2bn+ (which was more than the previous 3 IPO fund raisers together).

Wateen has managed to acquire some of the best human resources in the world and our employees have managed to grow both professionally and personally.  The Wateen family has been committed to Wateen throughout as can be seen during the recent challenging times and Wateen has stayed committed to its employees with strong career development, strong bonus / reward programs and an annual review / bonus despite the challenging financial situation.

Wateen’s potential is still untapped with 10,000+ km of fiber optic cable connecting Pakistan, its cities and its neighbors (including 3 out of 5 USF projects), the largest Wireless Broadband Network in the country, the largest VSAT network in the country, the largest alternative LDI network in Pakistan and the second largest USF partner which can all be leveraged to generate significant revenues / profits;  to give an example just 3-4 deals our commercial teams are working on can generate more than Rs14bn revenue which can all be closed / realized very quickly.  We have been able to achieve 230,000 Broadband customers and a maximum daily revenue of rs6m from Broadband alone.

Our customer base is a representation of our operations with 26 of the top banks, all major mobile / telecom / media & IT operators using our network and many enterprise, corporate & SME’s using our services.  The new Media division has managed to connect more than 300,000 in Lahore alone and launched several new Wateen TV channels which have already become operationally profitable.

The existing Wateen Team has worked very hard to make these a reality. The reason I mention these accolades is that while fire fighting we have forgotten to recognize this exemplary performance and the fact that Wateen’s infrastructure and position put it in a unique position to really benefit from the current market dynamics.

All Wateen Team Members and Well Wishers should be proud of this.  I would like to thank our BEC members and Chairman for their continued support and our special thanks to Mr Parvez Shahid who, as our in country / operational director, has given us continued support, direction and commitment throughout.  I would also like to congratulate and welcome Naeem & Zouhair on their new appointment.  With the recent Sponsor Support of $44.5m / Rs 3.8bn and their dedication, commitment and vision I am sure they will take Wateen to new heights.

I hope our paths cross again and my wishes and prayers will be with You and Wateen forever

With best regards & wishes

Tariq

(a proud founder, CEO and Wateen team / family member)

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK