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Dunne confirms he will step down as O2 boss if Three merger is approved

James Pearce
September 21, 2015

Three CEO Dave Dyson will be handed reins to UK’s largest mobile operator if regulators rubber stamp £10.3bn deal

Ronan Dunne has confirmed he is set to step down as O2 CEO if it is bought by Three-parent company CK Hutchison.

Dunne told Mobile News he will help to oversee the transition period if the deal is approved, but will then step back from his role as O2 CEO.

The O2 CEO joined the operato in 2001 as deputy to the chief financial officer, before taking up that role himself in 2005. He became CEO in 2008.

€‹”€‹I believe that the proposed combination of O2 and Three will be good for competition in the UK market and, subsequently, the service offered to customers,” Dunne said. “I am committed to helping both leadership teams manage the successful creation of the new and exciting entity.

“In building the new organisation, it is essential that there is an unwavering focus on the benefit to our over 24million UK customers and the support of the outstanding talent serving the UK’s mobile industry. I will be helping to guide the process with that front of mind.”

A spokesperson for O2 added: “We can confirm that Ronan Dunne will step down from his current role of CEO for O2 (Telefónica UK) upon completion of the deal.

Three boss handed reins

The news came as Hutchison co-CEO Canning Fok told the Financial Times Dave Dyson would be given the lead role at the combined operator.

Dave-Dyson-webThree’s parent company CK Hutchison has submitted a proposal to the European Commission around its plans to buy O2 from Telefonica, and Canning told the FT it will make the combined operator a publicly listed company if the deal is approved.

Dyson (pictured right), who is currently boss of fourth operator Three, will take control of what will become the UK’s biggest mobile customers with combined subscribers of 34 million.

“David Dyson is our leader here and so he will be the leader (of the new business),” Canning told the FT.

Listed company

The CK Hutchison co-CEO also said the firm would consider putting the combined entity up for an IPO in order to satisfy outside investors who have committed around £3 billion to fund the deal.

O2 was last listed as a separate business from Telefonica in 2003, when it first split from BT.

“There is a liquidity requirement by our investor group and one way to provide will be an IPO, which we will support,” Canning explained.

“It is only reasonable that you give yourself some time. No-one is a magician. You need to work on your business and get the customer happy.”

He added that the combined entity would initially maintain both the O2 and Three brands, but this could be changed in the future.

“You can assume that it might become Three. But there is a twist,” he said. “We haven’t made the final decision yet. We have a certain time we can use O2. It’s a strong brand.”

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