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Liberty Global Europe shakes up executive leadership

UPC Switzerland chief executive flies in to take financial reins at Virgin Media in UK while former UPC Netherlands boss takes over Swiss and select eastern European operations

As it reacts to recent patchy performances across its business lines in the region, converged video, broadband and communications firm Liberty Global has made changes to the executive management affecting its key subsidiaries UPC Switzerland and Virgin Media.

The moves will see CEO of UPC Switzerland Severina Pascu join Virgin Media as chief financial officer (CFO) and deputy chief executive officer (CEO) effective from 1 February 2020, and her role taken over by Baptiest Coopmans, senior vice-president operations for Liberty Global.

Pascu started her career with Liberty Global as CFO of UPC Romania in 2008 and has developed transformation experience across operations in central and eastern Europe. She has held positions ranging from CEO of Romania and Hungary and later for all of Liberty’s central European businesses, culminating in being CEO of UPC Switzerland.

In addition to leading the finance function at Virgin Media, Pascu will take on responsibility for customer service and field operations as well as logistics and supply chain, reporting to Virgin Media CEO Lutz Schüler. She will also continue to be a member of Liberty Global’s executive leadership team.

“This is an exciting moment for Virgin Media,” remarked Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries. “Severina is a world-class operator and finance executive. She’s done extraordinary work executing our turnaround plan in Switzerland and will be a critical partner to Lutz at Virgin Media. They will be a powerhouse team.”

Schüler added: “I’m looking forward to Severina joining the team next month as we continue to transform our business and embark on an exciting new growth chapter to help us realise our ambition to become the most recommended brand in our sector for our people and customers.”

Coopmans joined Liberty Global in 2013 as the CEO of UPC Netherlands, where he led its merger of UPC with Ziggo to become the leading national cable operator, and the subsequent creation of VodafoneZiggo, the largest fixed-mobile converged challenger in the Netherlands. He currently oversees technology, network and operations for Liberty Global across Europe as well as the services it delivers to other operators.

In his new role, Coopmans will also oversee Liberty Global’s operations in Poland and Slovakia, and will be on Liberty Global’s executive leadership team, reporting to CEO Mike Fries.

“Baptiest is a great fit for the UPC team,” said Fries. “He has CEO experience and has done excellent work reshaping our operating model to drive reduced costs and greater efficiency. There’s still hard work to be done in Switzerland, and Baptiest is well positioned to take the reins.”

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