Christina Meade will leave her job as MD of Brightstar UK to move into a European business development role, just five months after taking up the position.
She will be replaced by former 20:20 sales director Richard Baxendale, who quit the distributor in March.
Meade leaves the UK post on the same day that Brightstar's European chief, Rod Millar, is freed from a restrictive covenant from 20:20 Mobile, his previous employer, which prevented him from working for a UK rival until 1 October. Millar will now officially have the UK division under his watch, along with the rest of Europe.
The reunion of Millar and Baxendale is seen as a major coup for the distributor. 'They were instrumental in making 20:20 the power they are in the market,' said a source.
It is not known why Meade has been moved into a European business development director role so soon, but sources speculated that she was temporarily taking the UK helm while Millar and Baxendale were contractually prohibited from working in the UK.
Baxendale said: 'Christina has done an exemplary job in setting up the UK operations and recruiting a management team. It's now down to us to show how effective [our] approach in the market is going to be.'
Meade has built up a 29-man front office team, and the company is understood to have finalised handset orders with major supermarkets and has set aggressive targets of more than 300,000 handsets by Christmas.
But trade partners have been hard to come by. Sources claimed Brightstar's biggest obstacle has been that it needes to win customers to gain manufacturer partners. One senior manufacturer source said: 'We want to see that they have new routes to market, while the customers want the manufacturer licenses and the products. It's a bit "chicken and egg" for them.'