Irish man takes top job at US telecoms giant

Ronan Dunne, the outgoing Irish chief executive of O2 UK, has been named group president of America’s biggest mobile operator, Verizon Wireless.

Mr Dunne will take charge of “all aspects” of Verizon Wireless’ operations in the US, including network, digital and marketing processes, from September. The move places him as a contender for the role of chief executive at the telecoms giant when it next becomes available.
Mr Dunne makes the move after eight years as chief executive of O2 UK, Britain’s second biggest mobile operator. Before being appointed to his new US role, he was linked with an aborted €10bn leveraged buyout of O2 UK following a failed takeover bid from rival mobile operator Three UK.

“Ronan brings a wealth of expertise, as well as global wireless perspective and experience,” said John Stratton, executive vice president and president of operations at Verizon Wireless.
“He has a proven record of performance in highly competitive environments. We look forward to his leadership as Verizon continues to invest in and evolve our wireless business to provide the best experience for our customers.”

Educated at Blackrock College in Dublin, Mr Dunne later qualified as a chartered accountant with Deloitte and moved to London in the 1980s where he worked for a number of companies before joining O2 in 2001. In 2005, he became chief financial officer of the UK operator before being appointed chief executive in 2008.
O2’s parent company, Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica, has been trying to sell O2 to bring down its own debts.

But despite the successful sale of O2 Ireland to Three in 2014, the European Commission blocked the sale of O2 UK to Three UK, citing concerns over competition and pricing for UK consumers.
The operator Mr Dunne joins is currently on an acquisition spree, announcing a €2.15bn takeover of Dublin-based telematics firm Fleetmatics earlier this week. Last month, Verizon inked a €4.4bn deal for Yahoo, the once-powerful online portal that employs over 200 people in Dublin.

Headquartered in New York, Verizon logged revenues of $132bn in 2015 from 113 million retail customers. As well as a mobile phone service, it also has its own fibre broadband network, which generates $10bn annually.
The company is trying to diversify into advertising and content distribution with the mobile industry currently undergoing structural pressure due to a price war and limited returns from mobile connections.

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