O2 CEO Ronan Dunne Steps Down After Failed Three Merger

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O2 CEO decides its time for a change as Telefonica abandons plans to leave the UK market and appoints CFO Mark Evans as new chief

Ronan Dunne will step down as CEO of O2 at the end of the month and will be replaced by the current operator’s CFO Mark Evans.

Long-serving Dunne has been with O2 for 15 years and became CEO on 1 January 2008. Last Septemer, he suggested he would resign once negotiations for the proposed sale of O2 to Three’s parent company Hutchison were complete.

The merger was blocked by the European Commission (EC) on the basis that competition in the UK mobile market would be negatively affected and there had been rumours Dunne would lead a management buyout with the support of private equity firms.

O2 CEO

However following the “successful completion” of a strategic review, Telefonica has decided to keep its UK business and reconsolidate it within the wider group. Dunne said the time was right to depart.

Ronan Dunne (left) and Mark Evans
Ronan Dunne (left) and Mark Evans

“The decision to reconsolidate Telefónica UK represents an important and positive milestone for the business and marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for O2,” he said. ““O2 is a very special brand and business, which has made this an incredibly difficult decision to make.

“We have built an outstanding team to take the business forward and in Mark, Telefónica has chosen a colleague and leader with outstanding commercial acumen and a drive to win. I wish him, O2 and Telefónica every continued success.”

Evans joined O2 as CFO in Janaury 2012 having held similar positions at Vodafone and cable company NTL, which merged with Telewest to become Virgin Media.

Telefonica future

O2’s strong financial perfroamcne despite a competitive market environment and the uncertainty caused by the merger negotiations was a reason Telefonica opted to retain the division and is what has motivated the Spanish telecoms giant to give Evans the top job.

“Mark’s contribution as CFO has been instrumental in delivering revenue and profit growth over the last four years and I know the business will be in good hands with him as leader” explained José María Álvarez-Pallete, Executive Chairman of Telefonica.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Ronan for his outstanding leadership, dedication and achievements not only as O2’s longest serving CEO but his support and contribution as a member of the group executive to Telefónica’s transformation journey. He has led the O2 brand to achieve great things on behalf of its customers, employees and shareholders and built a team of talent to be proud of. I wish him all the best for the future.”

“I’m very much looking forward to maintaining the momentum in the business and striving to make our customers the most satisfied in the UK, long into the future,” added Evans.

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