'Faceless' Liberty Global has 'sucked the very soul' out of Virgin Media

'This is not the ISP of Richard Branson' insiders complain to El Reg


Outsourcing woes

Rob Evans, exec director of Technology & Transformation, acknowledged that the current re-organisation had been particularly complex, and spans many countries.

Of the outsourcing of UK staff, Evans said: "One of the key reasons for outsourcing to Ericsson is to enable headroom to allow us to focus less on managing the volume of issues in Operations and worry more about reducing the volume coming in by focusing on root cause and preventing more outages from happening."

Another employee said: "I feel that our original Virgin values are gradually being eroded away and this concerns me. What ever happened to ‘keep the staff happy and we shall inevitably have happy customers’? Does the company really feel that subcontracting many functions out of the company [is] good for staff moral, let alone our customers' services?"

Mockridge said subcontracting enabled the company to scale from a third party and focus resources on other things "like the much needed TV re-launch, for example."

He added: "We should focus on both internal and external people operating with Virgin Values – absolutely this is the way Richard envisages as his own direct employees are few, while many thousands around the world work with the Virgin brand name."

Several times during the grill the spectre of VM's beardy founder was raised. "Richard Branson says 'look after your staff and they'’ll look after your customers better, which will take care of your shareholders'," said one staffer.

"After [operating cash flow] restrictions on staff travel and entertainment, training budgets tight, recruitment freezes, 60 per cent bonus pots, minimal pay rises and three price rises in a year on our customers, have we abandoned this principle in favour of straight up looking after shareholders first?"

Mockridge responded: "Sorry, but the philosophy you've attributed to Richard is, may I say, a little selective and a maybe a little too inward-looking. Virgin Media is growing strongly for the first time in a decade because of the investments we've secured from Liberty Global and because we've kept our customer-focused attitude inspired by Richard."

Nevertheless, one employee felt the cost cutting was not being applied across the board.

"Could it seem disingenuous when sales directors and [heads of department] travel from around the country for an overnight stay in Windsor with an accompanying drinks party to discuss the need to reduce costs to meet the [operating cash flow] challenge?"

The chief customer, technology & networks officer responded: "Yes. We are tightening up travel and expenses across all levels and encouraging conference calls or Telepresence rather than face-to-face meetings and overnights. This does not mean though that they will stop altogether."

Virgin Media was not available for comment. ®

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