Saudi Arabia's Mobily suspends CEO amid stock plunge and audit into major accounting errors

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Telecommunications company Etihad Etisalat, known as Mobily on the Saudi stock exchange, said Sunday it has suspended its chief executive officer after accounting errors forced the operator to restate 18 months of earnings.

Etihad Etisalat, which is 27 per cent owned the United Arab Emirates’ Etisalat, said in a statement posted on the Saudi stock exchange website that CEO Khalid al-Kaf was suspended effective Friday. The statement said that Deputy CEO Serkan Okandan would run the company’s operations until an audit committee submits its report to the board of directors identifying the responsibilities and errors for 2013 and the first half of this year.

The telecommunications company’s shares have plunged more than 35 per cent since a sharp sell-off began in late October. The company temporarily suspended trading on Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul stock exchange Oct. 30.

Shares closed at 56.20 Saudi riyals ($14.98) last week. The company said earlier this month that it would not pay out cash dividends for the third quarter.