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All change in the UK mobile world: Tom Alexander, the CEO of Everything Everywhere — the mobile operator JV between France Telecom’s Orange and Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile — has resigned and is getting replaced by Olaf Swantee, a longtime France Telecom (NYSE: FTE) operative.
According to a news release from the operator, Tom Alexander is resigning “for personal reasons and to pursue other interests.”
Asked if Alexander’s resignation was in any way connected to the phone hacking scandal, and the answer from a spokesperson was a flat, strong no.
The news appears to have been rushed out:
it’s unclear whether Swantee is an interim solution to run the business on short notice or whether he will be permanently installed in the role, nor is it obvious whether he will keep his existing role as head of all mobile operators for France Telecom in Europe (excepting France).
Update: A spokesperson tells us the appointment is permanent, and will begin September 1, when Swantee will give up his other responsibilities.
Officially, Swantee’s role at the moment is “Executive Vice President of European activities and Sourcing for France Telecom-Orange and board member of Everything Everywhere” — and these are still indicated on the release sent out today.
Alexander had been instrumental in the tie-up between the T-Mobile and Orange, who both needed significantly more scale in terms of customers and network to better compete against Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) and O2 in the country.
But since the merger, Everything Everywhere has been struggling to capitalize on that critical mass.
At the company’s last quarterly results, from the end of April, it reported a 28.1 percent decline in net adds for contract-based customers. And it also reported a decline in overall revenues compared to the same quarter in 2010: down 2.7 percent to £1.704 billion. ARPUs were also down for prepay and contract users.
Prior to the formation of the JV, Alexander had been CEO of Orange UK, a job he had held since 2007. He had also been founding CEO of Virgin Mobile (NYSE: VM) and before that an executive with O2, when it was still owned by BT (NYSE: BT) and called Cellnet.