O2’s Ben Dowd and David Plumb make sudden exit from network

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Sales director and chief digital officer step down from roles sparking industry speculation

O2 sales director Ben Dowd and chief digital officer David Plumb have both left the operator.

Dowd leaves after serving a 12-year tenure as UK sales director (2016), business director (2010), business sales director (2008) and general manager business sales (2005).

Plumb spent almost five years with O2 as chief digital officer. He is a non executive director for MVNOs Tesco Mobile and giffgaff.

O2 did not relay a reason for the departures but in a statement said: “As of 15 September, Ben Dowd, sales director and David Plumb, chief digital officer have stepped down from their roles on the executive committee of Telefónica UK and left the business.

“We would like to thank them for their hard work over the years with us. For an interim period these positions will be filled internally.

Gareth Turpin will take up the role of sales director and Oli Potter that of chief digital officer.”

One partner claimed the two execs were leaving to join rival network Three, based on the strong links formed during merger talks in May, which was subsequently blocked by the EU Commission.

Bolt from the Blue

“A few of us believe they are going to another network. I hear they were literally marched out of the business. It’s bound to have consequences and shareholders and partners will be nervous. It’s a disappointing bolt from the blue. There is talk that Three is trying to build a business channel.What better people to pick?”

A senior O2 channel partner told Mobile News: “It’s interesting. They never just make announcements like that. That’s the kind of thing you do when your top executive [has] announced that he’s leaving to join your biggest rival”.

Speculation

Another trade source speculated that Dowd would follow ex-O2 CEO Ronan Dunne to US network Verizon Wireless.

Dunne quit O2 in June last year after regulators blocked CK Hutchison’s £10.5bn takeover bid. An anonymous source told Mobile News that all the sales directors and employees who reported to Dowd were placed on a conference call and told that the industry veteran was leaving the network after 17 years of service on September 18.

At time of going to press Dowd and Plumb had not responded to requests for comment.

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