Krause to lead Sunrise as Swantee quits following failed deal
CFO André Krause has become the CEO of Switzerland’s Sunrise operator following the resignation of Olaf Swantee.
At the same time the company’s chairman and vice-chairman, Peter Kurer and Peter Schöpfer respectively, have decided to stand down at the next annual general meeting.
The Sunrise board said it regretted the decision. “During the last four years under the leadership of Olaf Swantee [pictured] as CEO and André Krause as CFO, Sunrise has gained true momentum as the leading quality challenger in Switzerland, consistently outperforming its competitors after transforming its network, brand, services, company culture and routes to market,” it said.
“As a result, Sunrise gained share across key product areas, achieved the great place to work award and delivered a total shareholder return of 55%. The company has outperformed its peers and delivered on its key KPIs each quarter.”
Swantee’s abrupt departure comes after Sunrise abandoned its bid to buy Liberty Global’s cable business in Switzerland for €5.5 billion. That deal, announce 11 months ago, would have put Sunrise into the second position, behind Swisscom, in the country’s telecoms market.
But shareholders objected: particularly Freenet of Germany, which has a 25% share in Sunrise and complained about a planned rights issue that would have been needed to raise €2.58 billion in order to buy Liberty Global’s business.
Uwe Schiller, previously senior VP of finance and investor relations, will take over as CFO. He has been with Sunrise for 20 years, working in network management roles before moving to finance.
New CEO Krause welcomed the appointment of Schiller as CFO. “Uwe and I have worked closely together for several years and I am extremely happy that he has been appointed as the new CFO of Sunrise. This will ensure a seamless handover and continuity within the business,” he said.
However, Sunrise will have to pay a €46 million penalty fee to Liberty Global for cancelling the deal.
Swantee joined Sunrise in May 2016 after five years leading UK mobile operator EE, created from a merger of T-Mobile UK and Orange UK; EE is now part of BT. Swantee joined EE after four years as executive VP at Orange itself, based in Paris, heading European and worldwide mobile operations.