Telefónica UK promotes CFO after CEO Dunne quits

15 July 2016 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

Mark Evans to take over as CEO of Telefónica’s UK operation as Ronan Dunne leaves the company after 15 years

Ronan Dunne is to step down from his role as CEO of O2 UK and from Telefónica’s board at the end of July. Mark Evans, CFO of O2 UK, will take over as head of Telefónica’s UK mobile operation.

Dunne’s decision, which he emailed in a personal message to Capacity, follows a lengthy period of uncertainty for O2 UK, which Telefónica has owned since 2005.

The European Commission blocked a plan for CK Hutchison to acquire O2 UK for £10.25 billion and merge it with Three UK in May 2016. Telefónica then looked at alternatives, including a private equity acquisition and, it is believed, a sale to cable operator Liberty Global, before deciding to hold on to the operation.

“Having recently steered the O2 business to embark on its next exciting chapter, I feel that now is an appropriate time to move on,” Dunne told Capacity by email.

“Telefónica confirmed earlier this month that it intends to retain the O2 business within the Telefónica group. I am proud to have led Telefónica’s strategic review over the past month to reach this milestone decision and believe it is a fitting conclusion to the extended period of uncertainty surrounding O2’s next chapter.”

Dunne has not yet said anything about his plans after leaving the group. Evans takes over on 1 August, but Dunne will stay with the group into September.

“In Mark, O2 will have a new leader with outstanding commercial acumen and a drive to win. There is no doubt in my mind that he will continue to be a great credit to this business and its continued success. O2 continues to perform strongly and is well positioned to achieve further great things within the UK telecoms market,” Dunne told Capacity.

Evans joined O2 UK as CFO in January 2012, having previously been with Vodafone UK since 2001 – as chief financial controller and then CFO. Before that he was group financial controller at cable operator Virgin Media, which has since become part of Liberty Global.

Dunne has been CEO of O2 UK since April 2008, having joined the company in 2001 in a financial role before it demerged from BT. He became CFO – the role Evans has until he takes over – in 2005.

“As you might imagine, having spent eight years as CEO of Telefónica UK, this was an incredibly difficult decision to make,” Dunne told Capacity.