Everything Everywhere Boss Culls Top Management

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Heads are rolling at operator Everything Everywhere as the new boss trims its senior management team

The man now in charge of Britain’s largest mobile operator, Everything Everywhere, has lost little time in marking his mark.

Chief executive officer Olaf Swantee began work on Thursday as the man in charge of the operator, created by the merger of Orange UK and T-Mobile UK. Immediately, he removed more than half of his senior managers, and announced a new “leadership team” to take the operator forward.

Management Cull

The change means that Everything Everywhere’s management team has been reduced from 26 executives, to just ten.

“The leadership team I’m announcing today draws from the existing talent within Everything Everywhere as well as bringing in some new faces with broad-ranging, international expertise,” said CEO Swantee (pictured).

“The structure of the team is function oriented with clear accountability so we can accelerate the execution of our key plans and priorities,” he added. “ I am committed to the established business goals and financial targets – as well as to running a responsible and sustainable business.”

Despite the rhetoric however, some big names are leaving, or have already left the operator. These exits began in July, when Tom Alexander, chief executive, and Duncan Hay, director of indirect sales, both announced they were leaving the company. One of the favourites to succeed Alexander, Richard Moat, CFO and deputy CEO, is now also leaving as part of the Swantee shakeup.

Others to leave include Andrew Ralston (chief commercial officer); Ian Pitcher (vice president of HR); and Nicolas Ott (vice president of strategy, regulation and planning).

Meanwhile Neil Macgeorge (vice president of trading) and Linda Kennedy (chief change officer) will also be leaving, but have agreed to return as consultants throughout the rest of the year in order to ensure a smooth transition. It is also understood that a further 10 vice-presidents have been reportedly demoted.

Workforce Reduction

Meanwhile the workforce at the operator has already been trimmed by 1,200 jobs. Workers were reportedly told when their jobs were at risk after Everything Everywhere used a “traffic light” system at various mass meetings. Red meant a worker’s job was at risk, and yellow meant they had to reapply for their position.

The merger between the UK operations of France’s Orange and Germany’s T-Mobile last year was meant to be a “merger of equals”. Indeed, both T-Mobile and Orange hold a 50:50 stake in the operator, but it seems that the new leadership team does not include any executives from T-Mobile, perhaps reflecting the view of many that the merger was in reality a takeover of T-Mobile UK by Orange.

Challenges Ahead?

The resulting Everything Everywhere is now the largest mobile operator in the UK, with approximately 28 million customers. Yet, despite being the largest fish in the pool, during the last quarter Everything Everywhere only managed to add 160,000 new contract customers, compared with 220,000 added in the same year-ago period. It has also reportedly lost 1.2 million pay-as-you-go customers in the past year.

It seems that Everything Everywhere is not drawing on its colossal customer base quite as well as its smaller rivals.

According to the Guardian newspaper, Everything Everywhere’s revenue from mobile customers, excluding that spent on handsets, dropped three percent to £1.5bn in the first half of the year compared with a 1.8 percent increase at Vodafone’s UK business.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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