Ian Hoskins, retail director at O2 franchise Telenomics, which runs 16 O2 franchise stores, is understood to be in negotiations with EE to launch an EE franchise business.
Hopkins move will be seen as a vote of confidence in EE’s franchise business as it looks to strengthen its play in the wake of the resignation of its franchise chief Brett Simpson, who is set to leave in the autumn.
EE has been beset with claims that the programme is running late due to leasing problems as well as the high cost of EE franchises which begin at around £200,000.
Franchise stores are at the heart of both EE and O2’s battle for high street dominance, with O2 planning to transfer almost half its store portfolio to franchise partners and EE set to roll out 100 by Christmas.
Hoskins has considerable experience in the mobile retail sector, store concessions and the franchise industry, as well as inside knowledge on rival O2’s franchise strategy.
He joined O2 Gold franchise partner Telenomics in January 2013 with a brief to drive significant cultural change across Telenomics’ O2 franchise stores, focusing much more on high levels of customer service and introducing expert technical support.
Hoskins was also a key player in the recent expansion of Telenomics’ O2 stores portfolio from 10 to 16 stores across London, the South East and in the North of England. The company also won the Mobile Industry Awards’ Best Franchisee this year.
Hoskins joined Telenomics from Phones 4u, where he was divisional director. During his time at the retailer he took on responsibility for Phones 4u’s roll out of its Currys/PC World store-in-store concessions, increasing numbers from 50 to 120 over a period of nine months.
Speaking to Mobile, Hoskins said: ‘I am leaving Telenomics with the very best intentions. I have had a hugely enjoyable time there and learnt a great deal working with Telenomics’ stakeholders, and as a result of working in the O2 franchise industry I am considering a number of options of which an EE franchise is one.’
Adarsh Radia, co-founder of Telenomics said of Hoskins that with 'his history and his entrepreneurial experience, we understood, as fellow entrepreneurs, that he has to follow his passion and so we are totally supportive of his plan and wish him well.’
He added: ‘We are really happy with what Ian has done at Telenomics over the past two years. He made quite a change here, really addressing our retail culture and we very much pride ourselves on the way we now add even more value to our customers’ experience.’
Radia said Telenomics is currently looking for a new sales director to replace Hoskins who will leave in the next few weeks.