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“Catalyst” Reichelt leaves Cell C

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Cell C CEO, Lars P Reichelt, will be leaving today, saying his role had been as a “catalyst for the process””, rather than to be “”consumed by the process itself”” – and the Cell C strategy will not change, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

The Board of Cell C announced this afternoon that Lars P. Reichelt, CEO, will be leaving the company today. However, he will stay on in an advisory capacity.

“”Cell C’s bigger vision is to bring Internet access to the entire country,”” he said, stressing that he was not a lone warrior in helping to transform the mobile industry.

“”Imagine what we can do if we have an IP (Internet protocol) dialtone for everyone? South Africa as a country can leapfrog other countries in the most incredible way.

“”I am counting on Cell C continuing with this vision. There’s no change in strategy.””

Cell C issued the following statement today:

Lars has indicated his wish to resign for personal reasons and, after discussions about the way forward, the Board has agreed to accept his resignation. The Board has nominated Simon Duffy, Chairman of the company, to serve as acting CEO until a successor is appointed. During his two and a half year tenure at the helm of the company, Lars has led the much needed transformation and has strategically positioned Cell C for future growth.

Simon Duffy said, ‚The directors and I wish to thank Lars for his contribution to the restructuring of the company and for his strategic input and leadership in moving Cell C to the forefront of the mobile broadband market. We wish him success for the future and will be looking to the new CEO to drive and implement the company’s strategy in the next phase of its development.‚

Lars said, ‚The Cell C crew has made incredible strides over the past few years and I am very proud to have led that process. I am confident the company, supported by its strong management team, is well-positioned for continued growth, and have agreed to be available in an advisory capacity.‚

The statement, as well as Reichelt’s positive comments to Gadget regarding Cell C, suggest the parting is amicable. Reichelt turned Cell C from the third choice network operator into the perception leader in broadband service offerings, but his impact on the voice component of the business was less dramatic. Cell C reached the 7-million subscriber mark in 2009, soon after Reichelt’s arrival, but has not been able to break through that ceiling, despite other networks continuing to grow their account base – meaning that market share is declining. Reichelt’s successor will face the complex challenge of maintaining broadband thought leadership while achieving a similar breakthrough in the voice market.

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