Olaf Swantee has thrown himself into transforming Britain’s biggest operator, and because that change has come from the top down he was the overwhelming choice for Person of the Year. Insiders talk of a demanding yet visionary leader, who sets tight deadlines and high targets but gives the support teams need to implement results.His drive resulted in EE trumping its rivals to launch 4G months ahead of the competition, dismissing the Everything Everywhere brand by launching EE and sweeping the names of Orange and T-Mobile from shopfronts overnight. Then there’s reorganising its customer service teams, launching a new marketing campaign, rearranging its sponsorship focus... the list goes on.But it is on 4G that Swantee impressed the most. Launching the next generation service early caused so much anger that it looked at one point like the whole spectrum auction would be derailed by a trip to the courtroom. It could be argued that Swantee’s gamble actually sped up the process, with operators ultimately choosing to work together and introduce their next generation services quicker than previously planned. While Swantee has been criticised for the high pricing and low data allowances of its 4G offering, he could be cannily playing the longer game by not revealing EE’s true 4G plans until its rivals hit the market. And lowballing on 4G would damage margins, a crucial thing to watch ahead of an expected flotation later this year.The EE of 2013 is light years away from the flabby basket case of yesteryear and that has been down to Swantee’s vision and drive.
Simon Stanford, Vice-President IT and Mobile, Samsung UK and Ireland
Scott Hooton, Chief Commercial Officer, Phones 4u
David Dyson, CEO, Three
Andrew Harrison, CEO, Carphone Warehouse.