Digicel customers can expect a significant change at the helm of its regional operations come next year.
In a statement today, the Irish-based telecommunications giant announced the appointment of Alexander Matuschka Greiffenclau as group chief executive, effective February 2018.
He will succeed Colm Delves who has cited for personal and family reasons for his decision to step down after 13 years in the position.
This is the latest in a series of high level changes within the telecommunications company over the past three years. Earlier this year, former Commercial Director Alex Tasker made his return to Digicel (Barbados) Limited as Chief Executive Officer, as Conor Looney was promoted to the post of Hub Chief Executive Officer for the Irish telecommunications company’s Caribbean and Central American operations. Before that, in 2015, Johnny Ingle called it quits six months after succeeding Mark Linehan who spent two years in the post of Chief Executive Officer of Digicel (Barbados) Limited.
In recent months, the company has also been actively engaged in internal restructuring that has resulted in several job cuts, amid reports by the independent research provider that the company was facing an uncertain future due to high debt, currency fluctuations and change in consumer behaviour.
The report, published last December in the Irish Examiner, quoted CreditSights analyst Michael Chakardijan as saying in London last Wednesday that Digicel’s high debt levels of more than $6 billion left little room for manoeuvre.
It also contended that the change in Digicel users’ habits may hamper the company’s ability to increase margins by 24 percentage points by March 2018, while cutting costs by using technology and changing back office functions.
However, there was no talk today of the company’s debt position as it was announced that Delves, who was credited with growing the company’s revenues from US$478 million in eight markets to $2.5 billion revenues across 32 markets with a ten-fold increase in profitability and subscribers, is to remain on as a non-executive director of Digicel and will also provide advisory services to the Group.
“Having accrued more air-miles than I care to admit and with Digicel very well positioned to capitalize on our unique market positions, I have decided now is the appropriate time to step down from my executive role to spend a bit more time on personal and family priorities,” Delves was also quoted in a company statement as saying.
Group chairman Denis O’Brien also praised Delves for his contribution to the company while enthusiastically welcoming Matuschka Greiffenclau to the group.
“I am very pleased to welcome Alex to lead our talented management team at a really exciting time for the business. Given his telecommunications credentials and his experience of working in dynamic and transforming sectors, he’s a natural fit for our business,” Obrien said, adding that “Our enthusiastic welcome of Alex is tempered only by the fact that Colm will be stepping down from a role in which he excelled and where he led by example for more than a dozen years.”
Delves’ replacement is coming from VEON, a leading global provider of telecommunications services, where he has served as group chief performance officer since mid-2015. He previously served as chief transformation officer at Nokia Networks, where he was credited as playing a key role in its transformation. Prior to joining Nokia, he gained extensive experience in the automotive and machining industries.
He holds a joint business degree (Diplom-Kaufmann) in International Business Economy from International Business School Lippstadt in Germany and West Virginia University in the US.
“I am very pleased to join the Digicel team. I view Digicel’s progress implementing Digicel 2030 as a truly ground breaking initiative and an opportunity to transform our customers’ communications and entertainment experience,” Matuschka Greiffenclau said in commenting on his appointment.
“ In my view, Digicel has first mover advantage in its customer engagement evolution and I aim to ensure we capitalize on that for the benefit of all stakeholders,” he added.