Exclusive: Top management leaves Interoute as GTT completes $2.3bn takeover

Exclusive: Top management leaves Interoute as GTT completes $2.3bn takeover

CEO Gareth Williams and most of his C-level team left Interoute yesterday as GTT completed its $2.3 billion takeover.

Along with Williams, CFO Catherine Birkett, CTO Matthew Finnie and group general counsel Maurice Woolf all left yesterday as GTT’s Rick Calder moved in to become president and CEO to oversee the integration.

GTT completed the acquisition just three months after announcing the deal to buy the unlisted London-based company from its investors, including the Swiss-based Sandoz Family Foundation. The acquisition was announced at the end of February.

Calder said: “Our enhanced scale, expanded network footprint and award-winning product capabilities reinforce our position as a global leader in cloud networking. We look forward to bringing the benefits of this acquisition to our valued clients across the world.”

In advance of the completion, Calder has visited all of Interoute’s offices across Europe, he told Capacity in an interview that will be published in the June/July issue.

An official statement yesterday from the company did not detail the management changes. But Capacity understands that, apart from Williams, Birkett, Finnie and Woolf, the others who left the company yesterday include Robert McNeal, vice chairman, and Jan Louwes, executive VP of sales and marketing.

Those staying with GTT, as the company will now be rebranded across Europe, include Andrew Holder, executive VP of customer operations, Mark Lewis, executive VP of communications and connectivity, and Jonathan Brown, VP of marketing.

Brown told Capacity: “The exciting thing for those who are staying is it’s a really good opportunity. It gives us a lot more global scale.”

Some of the remainers may find themselves in senior leadership positions in the expanded GTT, Calder hinted in his Capacity interview. Currently Martin Ford heads GTT EMEA and Asia-Pacific but Calder said he might "create two or even three division presidents in Europe". He said: "There’s lots of great talent coming in from Interoute." 

GTT said in its statement that the addition of Interoute would create “the most comprehensive and competitive global cloud networking platform in the industry”, and add “a large base of marquee multinational clients, balanced across geographies and verticals, with very high levels of recurring revenue”.

It would strengthen “GTT’s leadership in software-defined wide area networking” and enhance its global team.

Calder said: “The acquisition of Interoute represents a major milestone in delivering on our purpose of connecting people across organisations, around the world and to every application in the cloud.”

In March GTT said it would hold off on any further major acquisitions until it had integrated Interoute – though it did buy a small Canadian company, ACI, just a couple of weeks after announcing the Interoute deal. ACI took its tally of acquisitions to seven in around 18 months.

Other recent acquisitions include Hibernia Networks, Global Capacity, Mammoth, Giglinx, Perseus, Transbeam and Custom Connect.

GTT said in March that two smaller shareholders in Interoute, Aleph Capital Partners and Crestview Partners, would invest $175 million in common stock in the combined company.

Calder told Jason McGee-Abe, editor of Capacity, during their meeting at International Telecoms Week in Chicago in early May: "We successfully completed a debt bank financing round of $1.8 billion in the US and €750 million." It was "highly oversubscribed, led by Credit Suisse and a group of six other banks at significantly lower interest rates than we thought going in." He added: "We had raised $450 million in equity funding." This interview will be published in full in the next issue of Capacity

He confirmed that Interoute will be rebranded as GTT quickly: "Our view is that we’re still a relatively small player and building brand identity and awareness across two brands is too difficult."

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