John Reid quits as Cable & Wireless CEO

Alan Burkitt-Gray
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Reid quits C&W as Liberty Global splits off separately quoted Latin American unit

CEO John Reid is to leave Liberty Global’s Cable & Wireless Communications (C&W) in early 2018, shortly after shares in Liberty Latin America begin trading.

Reid came into the C&W group in 2015 when it bought Columbus Communications, which he joined in 2005, and stayed after the Liberty Global acquisition in 2016 – though he was said to be interim CEO.

C&W is being integrated into Liberty Global’s Latin American and Caribbean division, currently called LiLAC Group but about to be renamed Liberty Latin America.

Liberty Global has not announced Reid’s successor. It “will be made in due course, and until that time, Reid will remain in the post and will support the transition to new leadership”, said the company.

Mike Fries, CEO of Liberty Global, said: “John has been an exceptional leader for us, steering Cable & Wireless through significant changes and transformation; we have valued John’s dedication and energy and wish him the very best for the future.”

In its statement Liberty Global said that, at Columbus Communications and then with the merger with Cable & Wireless, Reid played a key role in building the region’s leading full service communications and entertainment provider.

Most recently, it said, he was also instrumental in the integration of C&W with Liberty Global, which is due to deliver $150 million in synergies, as well as readying the company to be part of Liberty Global’s Latin America and Caribbean operation, which is due to be split off next month.

Liberty Global added: “During his tenure at C&W, Reid has driven the transformation of the business to focus on delivering an unparalleled customer experience leading to improved performance and efficiency, as well as the implementation of growth strategies for the company’s mobile, residential, business and wholesale segments.”

Reid, who joined the industry more than 30 years ago in eastern Canadian cable operator Persona Commununications, said: “With the planned split-off of Liberty Latin America, now is the right time to let new leadership take the business through its exciting next chapter.”

Meanwhile shares in Liberty Latin America will start trading on 2 January 2018 on the Nasdaq exchange. It operates in 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean under the consumer brands Flow, VTR, Liberty, Mas Movil and BTC, including the operations acquired from C&W.

In addition, the unit operates a subsea fibre network connecting over 40 markets throughout the region.