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Major management restructure at O2 UK

Michael Garwood
December 8, 2010

O2 UK confirms departures of finance officer Ramon Ros and customer service director Cheryl Black, as it integrates consumer sales and customer service units, and hands new titles to David Plumb, Simon Devonshire, Tim Sefton and Sally Cowdry

Telefónica O2 UK is to merge its consumer sales and customer service teams under a single directorate position, reporting to UK chief executive Ronan Dunne.

The new ‘sales and service’ unit will cover all retail, web and telephone sales functions, as well as customer service. O2 continues to search for a director to head the new division.

O2 general manager of retail Richard Bayliss, leading O2’s retail business, and head of mass retail James Lambert, handling relations with Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4U, will work within the new unit and report to the new sales and service director.

Until O2 recruits for the new role, the old consumer sales and customer service divisions will run as they are, with Cheryl Black serving as customer service director until a candidate is identified to lead the new division.

Black will retire from the industry when her position becomes redundant.

Business sales director Ben Dowd will continue as interim consumer sales director also, following the exit of incumbent Stephen Shurrock to lead Telefónica O2 Ireland. Dowd will take a redefined role as ‘business director’ when the sales and service directorate is filled.

Dowd’s new division will handle all business customer sales and marketing, from small business through to large corporations, signed via both O2’s direct and indirect channels.

Under Dowd, head of SME sales David Plumb is handed the newly-created role of ‘general manager for enterprise’. Plumb will be responsible for sales and marketing.

O2 head of SME marketing Simon Devonshire effectively replaces Plumb in a newly-defined role as ‘general manager of SME and LME’, or small, medium and large enterprises, covering business accounts of up to 2,000 connections. He will be responsible for sales, marketing, customer support and partner support.

As well, O2 has scrapped its old ‘customer’ division and replaced it with a ‘new business development’ unit to cover its vertical market interests, such as O2 Money, O2 Health, M2M, MVNO and wholesale. Tim Sefton, who headed the old unit, takes charge as new business development director.

O2 is also recruiting for new heads of M2M and MVNO, to report in to Sefton.

Head of brand strategy Gav Thomson will take a role as ‘head of brand innovation’ in Sefton’s business development team.

O2 UK marketing director Sally Cowdry has been put in charge of an expanded division as ‘consumer and marketing director’. Her role covers bottom-line profit-and-loss of core product sales, as well as marketing across O2’s consumer sales activities.

Meanwhile, O2 has confirmed UK chief financial officer Ramon Ros, who joined the UK business in May 2008, will return to parent company Telefónica in Madrid. His position will be replaced.

O2 UK’s communications team, headed by Glenn Manoff, will now operate as a standalone unit, instead of a function of Sefton’s old customer division. Manoff will report to Dunne, although he does not take a seat on the UK board.

The operations division, headed by chief technology officer Derek McManus, and the HR division, headed by Ann Pickering, go unchanged.

The restructure sees the O2 UK board reduce from nine members, plus non-executives, to eight, including Dunne, Dowd, Sefton, Cowdry, McManus, Pickering, plus the incoming sales and service director and incoming chief financial officer.

Meanwhile, O2 UK will begin a consultation process with staff and unions from January as part of wider restructure, which will result in redundancies.

However, O2 UK said it will increase the number of its in-store technical specialist ‘Guru’ staff from 150 at present to around 400, effectively one per store next year.

It refused to comment on the possibility of redundancies within retail. Significant redundancies are expected across the UK business, however.

An O2 spokesperson said: “We are streamlining our management structure to create greater focus, accountability and efficiency so that we can invest more in the experience we deliver to our customers.

“We are doing this from a position of strength. Just like any large business, our structure evolves over time as business requirements change. The changes will ensure that the customer remains at the heart of our decision making.”

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