German count takes over as group CEO at Denis O’Brien’s Digicel

German count takes over as group CEO at Denis O’Brien’s Digicel

Digicel has hired Veon’s group chief performance officer from an 800-year-old German aristocratic family to be its new CEO.

Alexander Matuschka Greiffenclau will be group CEO of the company, with interests across the Caribbean and in the Pacific, from February 2018. He replaces Colm Delves, who has stepped down after 13 years, but will remain as a non-executive director and will continue to provide advisory services.

Denis O’Brien, who is officially chairman of the Digicel group but also owns it, said: “Colm has led the diversification of Digicel from being purely a mobile company to a total communications and entertainment provider with major investments in fibre-to-the-home, business solutions and digital media.”

He added: “Most recently, he also successfully initiated and led Digicel’s 2030 transformation programme. We thank him for his enormous contribution to Digicel and we are very pleased that he has agreed to remain on board as a non-executive director.”

Matuschka Greiffenclau’s full name is Alexander Graf Matuschka von Greiffenclau – which is how he appears on LinkedIn. “Graf” is German for “count”, and the Greiffenclau family dates back to the Emperor Charlemagne, who died in the year 814. But Greiffenclau family vineyard in Germany dates back only to 1210.

Matuschka Greiffenclau joined Veon, formerly VimpelCom, in 2015, but he was previously chief transformation officer at Nokia Networks, where he was credited as playing a key role in its transformation. Prior to joining Nokia, he gained extensive experience in the automotive and machining industries.

O’Brien said: ““I am very pleased to welcome Alex to lead our talented management team at a really exciting time for the business. Given his telecommunications credentials and his experience of working in dynamic and transforming sectors, he’s a natural fit for our business.”

Delves said: “Having accrued more air-miles than I care to admit and with Digicel very well positioned to capitalise on our unique market positions, I have decided now is the appropriate time to step down from my executive role to spend a bit more time on personal and family priorities.”

He added: “It has been my privilege to serve both as group CEO and group CFO of Digicel, a true business trail blazer that has invested over $5 billion in 32 markets across the Caribbean, Central America and Asia Pacific.”

Delves leaves two years after Digicel abandoned plans for a stock-market flotation that would have valued the company at around $10 billion. O’Brien blamed the decision on market conditions at the time.

Since then he has invested his own money into the pan-Caribbean subsea cable project, Deep Blue Cable.

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