Zayo picks ex GTT, Interoute exec to lead growth in Europe

Jesper Aagaard Zayo.jpg

Digital Colony and EQT’s Zayo has hired a former senior executive in Interoute and GTT to run its European business – just as GTT reaches the final stages of selling its infrastructure operations.

Jesper Aagaard (pictured), now Zayo’s managing director of Europe, was at Interoute from the end of 2012 – though previously he was CEO of Comendo, a Danish company that sold its network operations to Interoute.

At Zayo, he will report to CEO Dan Caruso, who said: “Jesper is a seasoned leader, with a proven track record driving growth and successfully leading integrations.”

Zayo, acquired by Marc Ganzi’s Digital Colony and Swedish investor EQT for US$14.3 billion in a deal completed in March 2020, said that Aagaard will be instrumental in driving growth in Europe and shaping the company’s overall strategy for the region.

In an interview with Capacity conducted in late March, Ganzi said he was working with Caruso to refresh the senior leadership. He said at the time: “We’ve already put in a new head of sales; we’re looking at deepening the executive leadership team in other parts of the company and in Europe, and so we don’t think the company will stand idle.”

There will be more changes, Ganzi told Capacity: “We’ll work with the board and we’ll work with Dan to put the right people in the right places, and ensure the success of the business. Change is always good, and change is always inevitable. One thing we know that Dan Caruso is pretty good at is being an agent of change.”

Now, Caruso says of Aagaard: “His entrepreneurial background, expertise and skills are a great fit for Zayo’s culture and will ensure we are well-positioned to take advantage of the significant opportunity in Europe for both organic growth and consolidation.”

Aagaard was one of the senior management team at Interoute who continued after its acquisition by GTT in May 2018 for $2.3 billion. According to his LinkedIn entry, he finally left GTT in August.

Heavily indebted GTT, now worth only $267 million, put its infrastructure division, including the former Interoute and Hibernia Networks, bought in January 2017 for $590 million, up for sale earlier this year, via Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse.

Sources told Capacity in mid July that GTT hoped to complete that deal by the end of August – a deadline clearly missed.

Aagaard will clearly be a huge asset to Zayo as well as its owners, given his deep knowledge of European telecoms infrastructure. His career includes three years with Uunet, now absorbed into Verizon, and four years with Colt. He went on to found Netmore in 2006, a company later taken over by Comendo before its acquisition by Interoute.

Aagaard, who lives in Copenhagen, said: “With its deep, dense fibre assets in western Europe and a reputation for innovation, Zayo is able to deliver unique solutions for its customers. I am excited about the opportunity to join Zayo and I look forward to driving continued success for the organisation.”