Wheeler exits Fonehouse amid major restructure

Wheeler exits Fonehouse amid major restructure

A major management restructuring at Fonehouse has seen group sales director Russ Wheeler (pictured) leave the business ‘to pursue other opportunities’ and Chitter Chatter director Ben Willis join the retailer as commercial strategist.

The company has also launched Fonehouse Mobile, a b2b MVNO and is set to roll out Tech House, a new in-store repair centre service, across its 50 stores.

Wheeler’s role will be taken on by Warren Taylor, who has been promoted from indirect channel head to b2b sales director. Taylor’s role will include overseeing Fonehouse’s b2b MVNO, its Branded Partner and reseller programmes and its network relationships with EE, MVNA partner Gamma, and Vodafone.

The company  is also rolling out Tech House branded store-in store repair centres across Fonehouse’s portfolio of 50 stores, following a successful trial at its Bluewater outlet.

The retailer has also closed its b2b office in Trent, relocating it to Fonehouse’s customer service centre in Nottingham. No job losses have been incurred in the move, which the company said was aimed at improving customer support for b2b customers.

Clive Bayley, Fonehouse founder and CEO, told Mobile the management restructuring was part of a wider strategy to diversify into new areas and to broaden the company’s customer base.

‘These are exciting times. We want to have more assets to the business and more routes to market. The industry is changing and we want to be ahead of the curve with different products and distribution routes. We aim to grow our company and have other services to offer our customers other than just airtime.’

Turning to Wheeler’s departure Bayley said Wheeler had decided to ‘seek other opportunities outside of mobile.’ He added: ‘I thank him for his contribution to Fonehouse over the past two years. Russ tells me that he wants a change of industry.’

Bayley said Taylor, who will take on Wheeler’s role, has played a pivotal role in launching FoneHouse’s b2b MVNO Fonehouse Mobile, which he said ‘is already gaining a lot of traction.’

Bayley said Taylor was also on a drive to grow Fonehouse’s Branded Partner programme, bringing three new partners onboard recently, which has boosted numbers to 15.

Bayley said Ben Willis’s newly created role of commercial strategist will involve managing Fonehouse’s four directly managed stores and working closely with the company’s 46 franchise stores. Willis will also play a pivotal role in making the company much more customer focused, Bayley added.

‘It is about looking at what the customer wants and what we need to do to supply that. We want to develop a coherent retail strategy, tying our online business much more closely to our retail business, with the same message across the board to the consumer. In essence, we want to be much more customer focused.’

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