Cable & Wireless has announced the surprise departure of its international Chief Executive Harris Jones; he will be replaced by John Pluthero, current head of the group’s UK operations. ‘We are now at the stage where we need to accelerate the transformation of service and brand reputation, fuelling further growth in the value of International,’ said Chairman Richard Lapthorne. ‘John Pluthero has an outstanding track record in this area and the capacity for the role, with the turnaround of Europe, Asia & US now out of the recovery phase, as evidenced by the strong interim results reported separately today.’
Cable & Wireless more than doubled its operating profit for the six months ended 30 September to GBP183 million (USD366 million) from GBP85 million, with its Europe, Asia & US business swinging to a GBP50 million profit from a GBP59 million loss last year. EBITDA increased 28% to GBP284 million from GBP221 million. However revenues dropped 9% to GBP1.56 billion from GBP1.72 billion the previous year, as the company shed unprofitable customers and was impacted by the weak dollar, in which its International business receives the majority of its revenue.
Cable & Wireless has faced persistent rumours that it will demerge its two business units since January, when it split itself into separate domestic and international divisions. The two units run ‘virtual profit and loss accounts’, which will ultimately make it easy to split the two businesses, should that decision be taken. While its International business has improved profit over the past few years, its other unit, which covers Europe, Asia and the US, has until recently struggled to compete with the likes of BT. However, under the management of John Pluthero the division has reported some signs of a turnaround in recent quarters.