KPN wins over Proximus’s CEO Dominique Leroy as its new head

Dominique Leroy KPN.jpg

Proximus’s CEO Dominique Leroy is to cross the Belgian-Dutch border to become CEO of KPN in the Netherlands.

She starts in her new job as CEO and chairman of the board of management of KPN on 1 December, replacing Maximo Ibarra, who had already said he was leaving on 30 September.

Leroy (pictured), who had led Proximus – formerly Belgacom – since January 2014, said: “KPN has a high-quality reputation and an excellent leadership team. I am looking forward to working with them and the wider KPN team to execute on the existing strategy and help KPN to become a premier digital services and communication provider with the customer at its heart.”

Proximus acknowledged the loss of its CEO, saying: “She has been offered a new opportunity abroad, despite the board’s unanimous willingness to reconduct her mandate as CEO of the company.”

Duco Sickinghe, chairman of KPN’s supervisory board, said: “Dominique is a dynamic, customer-focused and engaging leader with a wealth of experience in the telecommunications industry. With her strong strategic, operational and communication skills, we are convinced that Dominique will be able to successfully execute on KPN’s strategy.”

KPN said she will be paid €935,000 a year and will also be eligible for the company’s “regular short and long term incentive plans”.

Leroy worked for 24 years at Unilever before joining Proximus, ultimately as managing director of Unilever in Belgium and Luxembourg and a member of the Unilever Benelux management committee. She has a degree in business engineering from the Solvay Business School and is fluent in Dutch, French and English.

Sickinghe said that KPN’s strategy is to prioritise “sustainable growth in the medium term” and said: “Good progress has been made to date, driven by our dedicated board of management and executive management team, and executed by our colleagues throughout the firm.”

He added: “With Dominique at the helm, the supervisory board is confident that we will see further progress in the delivery of KPN’s strategy, positioning KPN for further success in the years to come. Continuing to execute against that strategy will remain KPN’s focus.”

Over the past couple of years KPN has effectively withdrawn behind the Netherlands border, selling its iBasis international wholesale operation to Tofane Global for an undisclosed price and then KPN International to GTT for €50 million. 

Proximus, which is starting a search for a new CEO, thanked Leroy “for her leadership and efforts in very challenging market conditions during her mandate of almost six years”. The company said her Fit for Growth strategy, meant Proximus “could again show positive results for the last four years, both in top- and bottom line”.

Its Shift to Digital strategy, which started at the beginning of 2019, “is driving the transformation of the company from a connectivity player to a digital services provider”, though Proximus also has a €3 billion fibre rollout plan and a mobile access network sharing agreement with Orange to accelerate the deployment of 5G.