A History of EE under Olaf Swantee.

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News that BT’s £12.5 billion takeover of EE, would go ahead came as little surprise to those within the telecommunications sector. Though on the face of it, the thought of the biggest telecommunications company swallowing whole the biggest mobile network would encroach upon the ground protected by the monopoly act, a closer look reveals that isn’t really the case. Regulatory bodies like the European Commission and Ofcom saw that the deal wouldn’t affect the amount of competition between carriers on the high street, and was therefore good to go through to the next stage.

That’s not the case for every potential acquisition (see: Three/O2) currently on the cards, but for BT and EE, things are now moving at a real clip. The latest development? EE’s chief executive office Olaf Swantee is stepping down from his position ahead of the expected closure of the deal in March, leaving Marc Allera, EE’s chief commercial officer as boss. Swantee described the move as an “enormously difficult decision” but that the time had come to “pursue other opportunities”. He further added that “To leave EE is probably the hardest decision of my career, but I feel the time is right for me to hand over for the next exciting chapter of EE’s incredible journey. I wish Marc all the success for the future.”

It marks the end of a remarkable four and a half year run for the charismatic executive, who was brought in at one of the most critical times in British telecommunications history. As head of Orange Group’s Europe division, which covered both mobile and fixed telecommunications across Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Eastern Europe, and the Dominican Republic, he was in charge of around €12.6 billion in annual revenue for the company. Before that, Swantee had 17 years’ experience working for the likes of Hewlett-Packard and Compaq. Naturally then, when Orange and T-Mobile announced that they would be merging into a single entity in the UK, the choice of Olaf Swantee as head came as little surprise.

It was, put simply, a bold undertaking for any new boss. At that time, Orange and T-Mobile were the largest networks in the country, and bringing them together brought no shortage of headaches. From retail outlets to branding through infrastructure and boardroom staff, the merger of these two companies posed a huge headache. Meanwhile, customers were flocking to the 0844 381 6301 contact number for EE in order to find out what the move meant for them.

Over the next four and a half years, Swantee ensured not only that EE became a brand with a strong public identity, he did so without losing what made both T-Mobile and Orange so special. Low costs, friendly customer service and innovative advertising all helped to keep those legacy customers from moving to a different company, thus keeping EE at the very top of the heap.

Over that same period, EE transitioned from a purely mobile company to a business that also offered home broadband and television services through their well-received EE TV box. Needless to say, under Mr. Swantee’s stewardship, EE not only maintained their status, but expanded beyond almost anyone’s imagination. How it does without him will be a matter for BT to consider, but were it not for Olaf Swantee, EE might not be here today.

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