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Virgin Media UK CEO Tom Mockridge Replaced by Lutz Schuler

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019 (8:24 am) - Score 2,529
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The parent company of cable broadband ISP Virgin Media, Liberty Global, has announced that after a six year reign the company’s UK CEO, Tom Mockridge, is to be replaced by its current Chief Operating Officer, Lutz Schüler, who only took up the position of COO in September last year.

Tom is largely responsible for overseeing the restructure of Virgin Media after Liberty Global’s acquisition in 2013. On top of that he helped to spearhead the operator’s £3bn Project Lightning network expansion, which once promised to reach an additional 4 million UK premises by the end of 2019 (mix of DOCSIS based FTTP and Hybrid Fibre Coax) but now seems set to fall well short of that target (here).

Recent reports have also hinted that Liberty Global may well be reviewing Virgin Media’s position within the UK, not least in respect to the possibility of future acquisitions (here) but also the question of whether or not they should open up their network to use by rivals (here). A lot of this has to do with how they respond to the roll-out of full fibre networks and major strategy shifts have historically been associated with a change of leadership.

Officially the press release heaps praise on Mockridge and says he will be leaving to base himself again in Italy with his family. Mockridge himself added: “Since becoming part of Liberty Global, Virgin Media has reinvigorated its business. The company is now spearheading the advance of the thriving digital economy in the UK and Ireland with the largest, most successful programme to connect homes and businesses to broadband.”

Mike Fries, CEO of Liberty Global and Chair of VM, said:

“Lutz is an outstanding leader and operator. During his eight years in Germany, Lutz led a talented team and created significant value. Since joining Virgin Media last year, he has made an immediate impact, uniting the team around a clear strategy for continued, best-in-class growth in the UK and Ireland. Tom, Lutz and I have prepared for this moment for some time now, so Lutz will hit the ground running from day one.”

Lutz Schüler said:

“I am thrilled to be leading Virgin Media. After seven months working in our operations, I am more excited than ever about our continued growth potential with the customers and communities we serve in the UK and Ireland.”

The change is due to take place on 11th June 2019. Interestingly Mike Fries also boldly claims that Virgin Media has “launched the most successful network upgrade and expansion programs in UK history, ensuring that more than 15 million households have the opportunity to enjoy Virgin Media’s incredible products and services,” although we’re not entirely sure on what their base of comparison is for that statement.

In any case Virgin Media is an operator that has always recognised the importance of retaining an edge over competitors, at least in the urban parts of the UK where they operate. Whatever the future holds for them it’ll be interesting to see how they adapt to such a rapidly changing marketplace.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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