2/5/2009 11:40:00 AM
Lebara Mobile's UK chief Rob Gaskin leaves after a 'clash of ideas'
Lebara Mobile has dispensed with the services of its UK boss, despite being in the midst of a period of rapid growth.
Rob Gaskin (pictured) left the virtual network after Christmas following ‘a big clash of ideas and personality’ with the owners, according to sources close to the matter.
Lebara attracted 600,000 customers to its virtual network brand in its first year of trading, by offering cheap international calls and targeting migrant workers in the UK.
Gaskin is believed to have been pushing to take Lebara into the postpay
market, and to introduce handset bundles in its prepay deals.
He pitched his plans in response to the emergence of rivals, particularly LycaMobile, which is thought to be well financed, ambitious for the UK market and has already experienced success in the international calling-card market.
Sources claimed Gaskin’s plans conflicted with group COO Tim Wort as well as with CEO (and one of the three founders) Yoganathan Ratheesan.
Gaskin, who previously worked at Virgin Mobile, said: ‘The objectives I set out for Lebara have been exceeded. We are one of the most successful MVNOs that has launched in the UK. No replacement has been appointed as yet, but there are plans to take Lebara beyond London and the south-east, and into areas such as Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle.
Under Gaskin, the MVNO quickly built a distribution network of around 5,000 outlets, which includes small independent stores in areas with large numbers of ethnic minorities, and more recently signed up the likes of Phones 4u, Tesco and Asda.
Jon Fawcett, head of group marketing for Lebara, said: ‘Rob Gaskin has made a good contribution to the outstanding success of Lebara Mobile. He now
feels the time is right to pursue other opportunities, and we wish him well for the future.’