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Chief digital officer and sales director leave O2 amid ongoing shake-up

Roles yet to be filled

Two senior top brass at UK telecoms outfit O2 have stepped down amid a period of major transition for the mobile operator.

A spokesman confirmed that Ben Dowd, sales director, and David Plumb, chief digital officer, have left the business.

"We would like to thank them for their hard work over the years with us at Telefónica UK and O2," he said.

A replacement for the positions has yet to be found, but Gareth Turpin, general manager of customer and commercial at O2, will take up the role of sales director in the interim, and Oli Potter, director of wholesale, will stand in as CDO.

Dowd joined O2 as head of sales, mass retail channels in 2002, and worked his way up to sales director last year. Plumb was appointed CDO in 2013, originally joining as head of indirect partners and business mobilisation in 2005. He retains his positions as non-executive director at giffgaff and Tesco Mobile.

Earlier this year, another long-serving O2 director, Billy D'Arcy, departed the biz, leaving his role as managing director of enterprise and public sector business to become chief exec of BAI Communications. D'Arcy had been with O2 since 2003.

The departures comes as O2 undergoes a period of significant change. Telefónica had previously indicated it would hold an IPO this year in order to raise funds to pay off debt.

The biz has been attempting to drum up capital ever since the EU competition regulator quashed its plans to sell to Three's owner, Hutchison Whampoa, last year for £10.5bn.

O2 is one of the smaller network operators, holding just 14 per cent of spectrum. Three, which has just 15 per cent, had planned to consolidate its share of the air by buying O2.

Kester Mann, analyst at CCS Insights, said it is now too late for the IPO to happen this year, but added that the business is still keen for it to go ahead.

"This is a huge transitional time for O2, and the elephant in the room for the business is the IPO." He said it may be putting it on hold due to market uncertainty including the spectrum auction, which Three is now challenging, and Brexit.

"It's possible that has had an impact on the management team at some level," he said. ®

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