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Ronan Dunne, UK CEO of mobile network O2’s parent Telefónica, has called time on his tenure at the helm of the telecoms business. Dunne will step down on 1 August 2016, and is to be replaced by current O2 CFO Mark Evans.
The change at the top comes after O2’s proposed acquisition by Three-parent CK Hutchison fell through in the face of European Commission opposition.
As a result of this, Dunne conducted a strategic review of options for Telefónica’s UK business, which concluded that the organisation will now be reconsolidated in the wider Telefónica group.
“The decision to reconsolidate Telefónica UK represents an important and positive milestone for the business and marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for O2,” said Dunne.
“O2 is a very special brand and business, which has made this an incredibly difficult decision to make. We have built an outstanding team to take the business forward and, in Mark, Telefónica has chosen a colleague and leader with outstanding commercial acumen and a drive to win.”
The longest-serving CEO in the UK telecoms industry, Dunne has been with O2 since 2001, in which time he has seen its customer numbers swell from 18 to 25 million.
Among other achievements during his eight and a half years as CEO, Dunne took the lead on the creation of the business’s Think Big programme.
He has also dedicated a good proportion of his time to campaigning and charitable causes, working extensively with skills and mentoring organisations The Tech Partnership and One Young World, as well as youth social action group Step Up to Serve.
Dunne’s replacement Mark Evans joined O2 in January 2012 in the CFO role. Telefónica said he had achieved sustained financial performance and industry-leading customer retention rates, with one notable success being the introduction of more flexible contract terms for O2 users.
“I am hugely excited by the opportunity to lead O2 through its next chapter. O2 has a track record in redefining itself to keep pace with technology change and customer demand, and has an enormous amount to offer in the evolving telecoms market. I’m very much looking forward to maintaining the momentum in the business,” said Evans.
The timing of Dunne’s announcement has prompted a number of social media users to speculate he has stepped down to become a full-time Pokémon Go player.