Australian telecommunications provider, Vocus Group, has moved to plug an impending leadership gap with non-executive director, Michael Simmons, who is set to temporarily head up the company’s corporate and wholesale business in Australia.
The company told shareholders on 9 January that Simmons, who joined the Vocus board via its merger with fellow telco, M2 Group, in 2016, would be the interim executive director of the business division until a permanent replacement could be found.
In his new role, Simmons will replace the outgoing director of corporate and wholesale for Vocus, Matthew Hollis.
Hollis resigned from his role at Vocus late last year, after six years with the company, and is set to take a position as group general manager, sales and marketing, at fibre network infrastructure provider, Superloop, in March.
Simmons steps into the new role with a number of high profile leadership roles in the telecommunications sector under his belt. He was previously CEO of publicly-listed SP Telemedia Limited (which merged with, and is now known as, TPG Telecom Limited) group.
During 2009, following the acquisition of TPG Telecom, Simmons left the SPT Group to become the managing director of TERRiA, a telecommunications consortium of infrastructure-based telecommunications carriers.
Simmons joined the M2 Group board in 2009, sticking around long enough for the company’s multibillion-dollar merger with Vocus last year.
The leadership shuffle comes after a top tier topple late last year that saw the boardroom departure of Vocus founder and former CEO, James Spenceley, after plan to shake up the leadership landscape at Vocus backfired.
Spenceley, who was an executive director, and former Amcom chairman, Tony Grist, a non-executive director, resigned from the company’s board in October last year.
The shock departures followed a “difference of opinion” between the departing directors and the majority of the board about the future leadership of the company, with the board voting down a proposed plan to change the company’s CEO early next year – a role currently filled by former M2 chief, Geoff Horth.
In late November, Vocus chairman, David Spence, moved to reassure shareholders that a search was underway to find replacements for the outgoing directors.
“We are well progressed with the process of appointing two replacement directors. We have appointed a search firm to assist us with this process, and already have an outstanding list of potential candidates,” he said at the time.
Now, the company has added a long-term replacement for the outgoing Hollis to its recruitment drive, telling shareholders that it is looking internally and externally for someone to fill the role on a permanent basis.