Vocus (ASX:VOC) director, Michael Simmons, has stepped out of the boardroom and into the company’s executive ranks to head up its Australian enterprise and wholesale business on a permanent basis.
The publicly-listed telecommunications provider announced the appointment of Simmons to the permanent role of chief executive, enterprise and wholesale Australia, on 29 March, with the new role seeing Simmons step down as a director from the Vocus board.
The move comes two days after the company sold its entire share of fellow telco, Macquarie Telecom, worth almost $41 million.
Simmons, who was on the board of fellow telco, M2, when it was acquired by Vocus last year, also previously held the position of CEO for ASX-listed SP Telemedia, which merged with Total Peripherals Group to become TPG Telecom.
Simmons was appointed to his latest role on a temporary basis in January, in a move aimed at plugging an impending leadership gap left by 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.
“I would like to welcome Mick to the Vocus executive team,” Vocus Group CEO, Geoff Horth, said. “In the short time that he has been acting in this role he has moved decisively to improve the business performance following the very rapid period of growth over the last two years.
“Mick’s focus will be to ensure that the enterprise and wholesale platform and systems are scaled to optimise the customer experience and support the ongoing growth as the business seeks to capitalise on its increased scale,” he said.
According to Vocus chairman, David Spence, Simmons’ extensive experience in the local telecommunications industry makes him “ideally suited” to lead the enterprise and wholesale activities in Australia through a transitional period for the company, following its acquisitions of Amcom and Nextgen Networks, and its merger with M2.
Spence said the company would expand its current non-executive director search following the departure of Simmons from the board and is expected to make further appointments in the coming months.
Meanwhile, the company has also revealed that, following an in-depth review of its technology and transformation programs, it has moved to establish a Group Transformation Office, with a new board sub committee to oversee the creation of the new Office.
According to Vocus, the Transformation Office will centralise all program and project management work streams, prioritising and coordinating these processes to ensure that all capital and operational expense allocation is appropriately matched against group-wide priorities, and that resources are managed effectively.
Simmons’ permanent appointment follows close behind a top tier leadership shuffle that saw the boardroom departure of the company’s founder and former CEO, James Spenceley.
Spenceley’s departure came after a failed plan to shake-up the leadership landscape at Vocus, with former Amcom chairman, Tony Grist, also stepping down from the board of directors.
The resignations followed a “difference of opinion” between the departing directors and 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 this year.
Grist and Spenceley has since played a part in the capital-raising efforts of Australian telecommunications startup, Uniti Wireless, which announced on 28 March, that it had raised $3 million in an oversubscribed pre-IPO funding round.