Telecom booms in the Temple of Doom

Telecoms boss Greg Mazur hangs up on Salomon Smith Barney to become Indiana Jones for a year.

Greg Mazur, Salomon Smith Barney's co-head of telecom investment banking is to leave the firm at the end of January for a year's travels across some of the more adventurous parts of the globe.

The irrepressible Canadian leaves SSB after four successful years, during which he built up one of the most profitable teams in his sector. In particular, the firm is widely reckoned to have hit a goldmine in Indonesia, where it advised: PT Telkom on its corporate restructuring; the acquisition of mobile operator PT Telkomsel; the latter's subsequent strategic investment by SingTel and; the unwinding of the five messy KSO's with foreign operators.

Salomon also played a lesser known, but highly lucrative role as independent advisor to China Telecom last year. The bank is reputed to have earned only slightly less fees than the joint global co-ordinators ($7 million compared to $10 million each for Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and CICC), but suffered little of the reputational damage associated with the difficult IPO.

Friends say Mazur will initially base himself in Vancouver and from there will go on to kayak across the Arctic, continue a love affair penguin spotting, before returning to the US to chase tornadoes across Oklahoma.

His departure is likely to come as little surprise given the doubly whammy experienced by telecom bankers, who have been squeezed by the fall out from the collapse of the telecom sector, as well as the huge cutbacks across investment banking as a whole. Taking full responsibility for the telecom team will be his current co-head Stephen Winningham, who came to Salomon early last year to become the firm's resident Chinese telecoms expert. Including Winningham, SSB is believed to have a 14 strong team, including four analysts, five associates, two vice presidents and two directors, Winato Kartono and Amanda Lu.

Prior to joining Salomon, Mazur spent seven years working with Lehman's telecom group in Hong Kong, London and New York. He first came to Asia in 1996.

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