In the inner circle and at the heart of O2’s continued success is Ben Dowd. His background has been in business and enterprise, but the last year has seen him take a larger hand in broader strategic issues. The departure of Telefónica finance chief Ramon Ros has put even more focus on Dowd. He has been described as ‘the golden boy at O2’ after snatching huge chunks of Vodafone's corporate and SME business over recent years. That achievement has enhanced his reputation as a pushy, high-achieving exec who understands the market, rivals, customers, products, operator economics, partner relationships and delivers exceptional results. He has championed O2’s innovation in areas such as NFC and sharpened products such as broadband and Wi-Fi. He is thought to possess strong leadership qualities, demonstrated by an uncompromising stance on partners who compromise O2’s brand, as well as taking the lead on fixing segment areas that are damaging the broader industry.
Ben Dowd’s vision for the ‘Joined Up’ proposition has taken off this year with his drive and passion for the new product. He has been instrumental in launching the product and following through with good take up in the indirect channel. In the last quarter O2 reported that ‘Joined Up’ had exceeded expectations with 85% of sales in the SME sector being both fixed line and mobile. O2 currently has the largest SME market share and Dowd intends to keep it that way. Not only has Dowd been at the forefront of convergence, but he has been pivotal in building long term relationships with the business sales channel. At the end of last year, O2 announced that it was going to invest an unprecedented amount of £2m into the indirect channel to grow its b2b customer base. His reputation of being deeply involved in the development of the channel remains one of the main things he is known for.
Any dealer/distributor who sells a mobile phone contract has had to grapple with a new phenomenon this year: revenue share.The idea of a network paying a small amount up front, with the rest over the length of the customer’s contract has been talked about for years, but Dowd is the man who has made it a reality. He has remained focused that it is the route to pursue, believing the turbulence that followed the launch is an inevitable experience for such huge change to sweep through the distribution segment.His model has been followed by similar schemes from Orange and T-Mobile, and is now a fixture in the industry.
Ben Dowd has nailed his colours to the convergence mast at O2 and has won a voice for business at board level. With his drive, O2 has increased its share of the business market, while re-focusing its corporate sales strategy to take a far more IT-focused approach. Dowd has forged partnerships with value-added resellers in IT, such as distributor Westcoast, as well as 60 of Microsoft’s accredited VARS and technology partners like Cognito and SalesForce.com. On his watch, the corporate base has increased by 10% and data penetration by 31%.