Exclusive: Swantee remains silent over his EE future

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EE CEO refused to speculate about his role if BT’s £12.5 billion bid to buy the operator is approved by the CMA

EE CEO Olaf Swantee has remained tight-lipped over speculation about his future if the operator’s proposed £12.5 billion takeover by BT is approved by the Competition Markets Authority.

Questions over Swantee’s future had been raised after O2 CEO Ronan Dunne confirmed he will step down from his role if O2 is bought by Three-owner CK Hutchison, with Three boss Dave Dyson taking the reigns at the merged entity.

BT is currently led by Group CEO Gavin Patterson, while Steve Haines is Group MD for mobility. Speaking to Mobile News, Swantee said it was too early to speculate on whether he would have a role in the combined business, and said he is currently focussed on making sure the merger is approved.

“My plans are to see the deal through and make sure that – once we’ve got approval – I’m fully committed to EE, until legal day one, then afterwards we’ll see,” Swantee said. “The rest is speculation really.

“My focus is on the deal. It is a long period, we have around six months depending on when the final legal day one is, and we haven’t received any information yet if the deal will go through, so it is very premature to talk about my future inside BT, or out of it.”

He added that he expects the CMA to give the deal preliminary approval at a hearing due to be held within the next two weeks.

Swantee joined EE in 2011, replacing Tom Alexander as CEO, from a role with EE co-owner Orange, where he had held the position of executive VP of European activities and sourcing.

His comments came as EE announced its results for Q3 2015, having more than doubled its 4G base in the last year. 4G customers now make up 52 per cent of EE’s 24.2 million mobile base.

They follow Dunne’s confirmation to Mobile News that he will step down as boss of O2 if the Hutchison takeover is rubber-stamped by regulators.

Dunne said he will help to oversee O2’s transition into the Three-owner, before leaving O2 after almost 15 years with the company.

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