Tom Alexander will resign from the UK’s biggest mobile network, Everything Everywhere (made up of France’s Orange and Germany’s T-Mobile). He will step down at the end of August to be replaced by Olaf Swantee, the current head of France Telecom’s European mobile operations, but Alexander will remain on in a consultative role for the remainder of 2011.
The industry gossip is that France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom who jointly own Everything Everywhere had got fed up with the slow growth at and were frustrated with Tom Alexander’s inability to cut costs following the merger. Alexander had spearheaded the joining of Orange and T-Mobile only a year ago creating the UK’s biggest mobile network with 28 million customers in Britain. Before that, he had who famously made millions with Virgin Mobile, the UK’s first virtual network and had run Orange twice.
However, some thought that his successes at Virgin Mobile and Orange were simply down to luck and, since the start of this year Everything Everywhere reported a 2% decline in revenue and a significant drop in new customers. The £3.5bn of cost savings demanded were also far from being met.
In an internal email he sent announcing his resignation, Alexander said, “It’s been a fabulous three and half years here … I have been impressed by the brightness, the talent, and the dedication of those that I have worked with, and I’ve made some great new friends.” He went on to write, “I am deeply proud of all that we have achieved together – forming the largest mobile telecommunications business in the UK”.
However, he also said “I feel it is now the right moment to hand over the reins to somebody else”. Sources within the mobile industry suspect that Everything Everywhere will now also lose a huge number of senior executives who had followed Alexander in from Virgin Mobile. This news leaves a slightly uncertain future for Everything Everywhere who are now under pressure to deliver savings to shareholders which will inevitably cost several jobs in the UK.