Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) has appointed Ahmad Julfar as the group’s new chief executive officer (CEO), a role created to aid the company’s global expansion plans.

“The appointment of Ahmad Julfar as group CEO will bring further impetus to the realisation for the Etisalat Group strategy as it aims to become one of the world’s leading telecommunications company’s,” says Mohammed Omran, the group’s chairman in a statement issued to the press.

Julfar was previously Etisalat’s chief operating officer and serves on the board of two of its international subsidiaries, Mobily in Saudi Arabia and Excelcomindo in Indonesia.

Etisalat operates in 18 countries and is the GCC’s largest telecoms operator. It is 60 per cent owned by the government. The operator reported a 14.9 per cent drop in profits last month, due to higher operating costs and increasing competition in its home market from the UAE’s second operator Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (Du).