7/20/2011 12:52:00 PM
Everything Everywhere integration ‘slow’
Everything Everywhere needs to accelerate its integration and cut VPs after the departure of the operator’s CEO Tom Alexander, industry experts said this week.
One source said: ‘Everything Everywhere faces a hard grind ahead. There are going to be a lot of challenges as the businesses continue to merge. Clearly it needs to make much faster progress and move a lot more quickly. There are a lot of management layers, which makes everything move too slowly, and that needs to change.’
Alexander came out of retirement in 2008 and was initially tasked with reviving the France Télécom-owned Orange UK brand. Many believed at the time that he was preparing the division for an eventual sale.
Alexander said this week he was leaving the company for ‘personal reasons’.
A source close to Alexander said: ‘It’s been a year since the merger and so it is an appropriate time for Tom to go. He was brought out of retirement to do this merger and he has seen it through. Now he wants to do his own thing.’
Alexander was previously a salesman for Telia and Ericsson before rising through the ranks at BT Cellnet to become deputy commercial director. He exited the company in 1998.
Alexander left Virgin Mobile in 2006 after co-founding the business with Sir Richard Branson in 1999 following its merger with cable operator NTL. He then went on to create Virgin Media.
But analysts said the operator needs a ‘different kind of skill’ to consolidate the merger into a strong new business. One analyst said: ‘Tom is an entrepreneur and a charismatic leader but a different sort of leadership is needed for the hard grind ahead that Everything Everywhere faces.’
Others added that new CEO Olaf Swantee ‘faces a tough challenge’ in consolidating the newly merged companies, adding that Alexander’s departure could herald a new and tougher culture at Everything Everywhere.