Telecom players hit redial with management teams

Newsroom 27/06/2011 | 12:15

Leaving aside the more visible announced or rumored appointments at the top, telecom companies in Romania have also renewed their middle management teams. Who are the fresh faces appointed by telecom players to management positions this past year? BR reviews past changes and outlines possible future developments in the structure of these companies.

Otilia Haraga

“With a management position, a very important factor is the candidate’s proven capacity to run a team or teams efficiently, and to stimulate the development of the team members,” Orange officials tell BR.

Starting July 1, the firm will have a new CEO, Jean-François Fallacher, who replaces Thierry Millet. It remains to be seen what changes the future CEO has in mind. However, Orange has already made some appointments in key positions this year, with all of these new managers being Romanian. “With middle management, the ratio of Romanian employees is higher, while in top management positions there is a balance between Romanian and foreign managers,” say Orange reps.

Madalina Suceveanu is the only woman in the France Telecom-Orange group to have a top management position in the technology department. Since March, she has been chief technology officer at Orange Romania, a key position in telecom companies. She joined Orange as network planning expert in 1997 and in 2008 she became network director, with her name being linked to the WiMax network and the first EDGE network in Romania and Europe.

Ioana Marcu, who has 10 years of experience in management and consultancy, joined Orange Romania at the end of last year as HR director. She started at Orange in 1997 in the customer care department. In 1999, she switched to the corporate team as corporate & major accounts manager and later became regional corporate sales manager. In 2007 Marcu moved to Accenture Romania where she was put in charge of the management of HR outsourcing operations first in Romania, and then in Europe.

A newly created position at Orange Romania was that of IT director. After the IT department was reorganized at the beginning of this year, Bogdan Rotunjanu became the first to be appointed to the role at Orange. Rotunjanu spent a year in customer services and then joined the application development team within the IT department. Between 2006 and 2008, he led the CRM development team, and since 2008 he has headed the department for the development of business solutions and customer services.

“A constant pool of talent is internal candidates, who are already familiar with the values and culture of Orange,” say Orange reps. The operator seems to rely heavily on internal promotions to fill newly available positions: all of these new managers had worked for the organization at some point.

“Via the internal organization of the HR department, we also aim to cover executive search roles. In this way, we are aiming to reduce as much as possible the need to resort to the services of a head hunting company,” say Orange representatives.

It’s been all change too at Orange’s main local rival. After Spaniard Iñaki Berroeta was named CEO of Vodafone Romania in December 2010, new faces in the management team were not far behind. The two most recent appointments have been made public in the past month. One of them, Mihai Ghyka, is a well-known executive on the local market, even though he does not have a track record in telecom. Ghyka was appointed chief commercial officer of the Vodafone consumer business unit effective June 20. Previously, he was president and general manager of Bergenbier Romania (former InBev).

The other announced appointment was for chief marketing officer. Angus Slater, who joined from elsewhere in the Vodafone organization, assumed the position. After joining the operator in 2003 he worked across all areas of marketing including product, proposition, handsets, content services, strategy and brand in a range of territories including the UK, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands.

However, there were other changes taking place in the background, with the proportion of Romanian and foreign appointments being roughly even. One of these is the appointment of Dragos Chivu as data marketing director. Vodafone poached him from Nokia Siemens Networks where he worked as country director. Another Romanian who has taken over a new position in the organization is Anamaria Rotar, 37, the new director of Vodafone stores. She has also been with the organization for only a year, since May 2010, as director of credit and collection, and shortly after she became interim director of customer operations.

Two other expats complete the team. Till Streichert, 37, was promoted to chief financial officer as of June. Previously director, planning & reporting, finance, at Vodafone, he is taking on the role of CFO after working in the consumer business unit and has had responsibilities in channel marketing, regional strategy, sales and logistics operations. Streichert joined Vodafone Romania three and a half years ago.

Last but not least, Errol van Graan, 37, is the new senior director, customer operations, and member of the company’s executive board. Van Graan came to Vodafone Romania from Vodacom, South Africa, where he previously held the position of national executive head, customer service support.

Even before Greek group OTE announced the merger between Romtelecom and Cosmote, rumors that Stefanos Theocharopoulos, currently CEO of Cosmote, may also take over as the head of Romtelecom began to circulate on the market. Currently, Romtelecom is led by general manager Yorgos Ioannidis. The two companies declined to comment to BR on the topic.

“This has happened in other places where Deutsche Telekom or OTE changed management. The mobile industry is much more cost efficient. It is a logical move, as a general principle, to prefer to have the management of the mobile company at the top,” Nicu Pana, independent telecom consultant, commented to BR. More recent appointments at Cosmote Romania include Alexandru Munteanu, 38, being promoted to sales operations senior manager, starting April 1, and Mihai Barbut, 41, assuming the position of sales and customer care division director starting March 1. Munteanu has spent the last two years as sales operations manager at Cosmote Romania. Previously, he was commercial manager at Germanos Telecom Romania, in charge of the commercial strategy of Romania’s largest telecom retailer. The other newly appointed member, Barbut, joined Cosmote in June 2008 as indirect sales department senior manager. He has 14 years’ experience in telecom, in the area of direct and indirect sales, having worked for companies such as Orange and Telemobil.

Meanwhile, Romtelecom’s executive manager of technology and operations, Wolfgang Breuer, will leave the company on June 30 to continue his career in Germany. A selection process will take place to fill his position, announced Romtelecom.

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