Vodafone and T-Mobile appoint new CEOs at Dutch units

Vodafone Netherlands and T-Mobile Netherlands announced new CEOs in separate moves, establishing key leadership roles in what is set to be a critical phase for the Dutch telecoms market.

The appointment of Jeroen Hoencamp as the new CEO of Vodafone NL from Sept. 1 is particularly significant as this means the current Vodafone UK CEO would also head up the planned 50-50 joint venture combining Vodafone NL and Liberty Global's cable unit Ziggo. He replaces Rob Shuter, who is set to become CEO of MTN.

Vodafone Group and Liberty Global also named Ritchy Drost as the future CFO of the joint venture, which is still awaiting approval by the European Commission. Drost is currently CFO of Ziggo. The EC has set a deadline of Aug. 3 to reach a provisional decision on the proposed deal.

For Vodafone, Hoencamp's move to the Netherlands has also sparked a management reshuffle at group executive level. Nick Jeffery, the CEO of Vodafone Group Enterprise, is to take on Hoencamp's current role as CEO of Vodafone UK. A successor to Jeffery has yet to be announced.

Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile Netherlands, meanwhile, finally unveiled its new CEO by announcing that Martin Knauer will take on the role from September in addition to his new position as director of consumer business. Knauer thus succeeds Mark Klein, who is leaving T-Mobile NL in late August. However, Knauer is taking on the CEO role only on a temporary basis until a permanent successor is found.

The new CEOs at both mobile operators will each face considerable challenges in the months ahead. Hoencamp is set to join the company after the EC decision on the Vodafone NL-Ziggo joint venture has been announced. If the decision is in favour of the merger, Hoencamp will be responsible for building a new converged fixed and mobile operator on the market.

That would in turn present a challenge to the former incumbent KPN, which already has a strong convergence play with the KPN Complete offer.

For T-Mobile NL, the situation would be more critical still as the operator does not have a convergence strategy. Instead, it is relying on a strong pure-play mobile stance, underpinned by its recently launched "Mobile First" strategy, Live Forward branding campaign and new unlimited mobile data offer under the Infinity Online plan.

As well as the new Dutch and UK appointments, Vodafone also announced that Vodafone Egypt CEO Ahmed Essam has been appointed CEO overseeing other European markets (Albania, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Hungary, Malta, Portugal and Romania as well as Vodafone's interest in the proposed Netherlands joint venture) at group executive level. Shuter was also previously responsible for this role.

His successor will be Stefano Gestaut, CEO of Vodafone's Partner Markets business, as previously announced.

For more:
- see this Vodafone announcement
- see this T-Mobile NL release

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