Virgin Mobile founder to change colour? Is your future bright, Tom?

by Sniffer | posted on 24 October 2007

The list of people who can be classified as "English, experienced at running a mobile operation" is small. But that's what Orange UK says it's looking for now it has eased Bernard Ghillebaert out of the CEO post.


My least reliable and most scurrilous sources say that the place to look is "where are they hiring their head-hunter resources from?" - and the answer (they suggest) is an interesting one.

Without revealing names, they tell me that it's the same head-hunter company that used to hire top level staff for Virgin Mobile.

Interestingly, Tom Alexander, founder of Virgin mobile, is English, and experienced at running a mobile operation. Is that why he got the job?

Last I heard of Tom, he was just leaving NTL, which took over Virgin (and the name) about 18 months ago, with a fair wodge - after the completion of the takeover his severance was a pitiful £1.2 million - plus, of course, various options and stock holdings estimated at about £5 million.

The plan, at the time (he said) was to work as a consultant to NTL to "ensure a smooth transition".

A word of advice to Mr Alexander: don't expect the new job, if you take it, to be anything like working for Sir Richard Branson.

Admittedly, you won't be asked to "cut your usage of mobile phones to an hour a day" - which Sir Richard did, at Virgin (say my sources) after he found his own ears growing warm from the white heat of Nokia exposure. Nor will you be asked to keep this benevolent gesture from the ears of the mainstream press.

But you will be required to work with France Telecom.

Yes, I'd say that was quite a challenge... no doubt the consulting community will be lining up to help you with meeting it?

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