Telenor group chairman Harald Norvik resigns

Harald Norvik, chairman of the board of directors of Telenor ASA, today informed the board of his decision to resign over, what he said, the Norwegian government's lack of confidence in him.

The Government of Norway holds majority stake in the telecom major.

Norvik was forced to quit on Wednesday after the government, which owns 54 per cent of the Norwegian group, withdrew support for him over the sale of TV2, the country's top commercial channel.

A company jointly owned by Telenor and labour unions sold a 50-per cent stake in TV2 to Egmont for 2.1 billion Norwegian crowns ($367 million) in January, giving the Danish firm 100 per cent control.

"The minister of trade and industry, Trond Giske, representing the majority shareholder in Telenor ASA, today expressed a lack of confidence in the chairman of Telenor, following the handling of the TV2 issue in January this year. I have, therefore, decided to step down as chairman in Telenor," Harald Norvik said.

Giske, who did not have the power to block the TV2 deal, had previously expressed dismay that the channel would end up in foreign ownership and likened the sale to selling off family silver.