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McDonald ‘quits’ LIME

by Shawn Cumberbatch

 Alex McDonald

Alex McDonald

Telecommunications company Cable & Wireless’ latest restructuring of its Caribbean business and management has reportedly reached Barbados.

Barbadian Alex McDonald’s more than four years managing the country operations of the company which trades as LIME is set to end at month-end, sources indicated today.

Also set to go is Trinidadian Gerard Borely, LIME’s CEO Barbados and Eastern Caribbean, who, like McDonald joined the company’s management in 2009, Barbados TODAY understands.

When contacted this afternoon and asked if reports of his departure were true, McDonald said: “I have no comment to make at this time.”

In a terse statement issued late this evening, LIME said: “Gerard Borely, CEO and Alex McDonald have stepped down from their respective roles in LIME, however they will continue to work for LIME through a transition period.

“We will issue a further announcement regarding the leadership of the Barbados business unit in due course.”

He joined LIME effective March 16, 2009, taking over direct responsibility for the day-to-day activities of the Barbados business from another countryman Donald Austin, who parted company with the company in January 2011.

It is no secret that LIME’s parent C&W Communications has been moving to restructure its Caribbean business, including changing management.

In February, LIME’s Caribbean CEO David Shaw, who joined the company four months after McDonald, announced he was leaving the organisation.

Smooth transition

At the same time parent company Chief Executive Tony Rice said he would “take over the leadership of the business, working with LIME’s regional business leadership team”, but that Shaw would stay on for another six months to ensure a smooth transition.

McDonalds’ imminent departure from LIME comes ahead of C&W Barbados’ annual general meeting on July 30, and follows his recent announcement that the company was building a $100 million fibre optic network.

Having recently completed the sale of its Monaco & Islands business, CWC has said it intends to focus its business on the Caribbean and Central American region.

These management changes and overall restructuring are part of CWC’s latest effort to earn more from its Caribbean business, which has lost market share to a host of new entrants in recent years.

Speaking recently on Shaw’s departure, Rice said: “Given the importance and challenges of the Caribbean market to CWC, I am taking direct leadership of the LIME business for a period of time to understand better and pursue the opportunities for investment which will improve the services we provide to customers as well as our cost efficiency and competitiveness.”

Last month in reporting on LIME’s financial performance for the financial year ended March 31, 2013, officials said revenue in this market was down four per cent, “consistent with the decline in the first half of the year”.

“Mobile revenue of US$527 million was one per cent down on the prior year driven principally by lower ARPU. Subscriber numbers were broadly flat on the prior period with growth in Jamaica following regulatory changes which enabled us to improve our competitive positioning, stimulating subscriber and usage growth offset by churn in the Eastern Caribbean,” the company reported.

“We have seen sustained growth in mobile data usage following the launch of high speed networks in a number of islands during the year and plan to expand on this where commercially viable.

“Broadband & TV revenue was down two per cent at US$120 million. We launched LIME TV in Barbados during the year and have signed up over 3,000 subscribers to date with plans to roll out IP based TV services to a number of islands in the coming year.” CWC also said its entire Caribbean business was the subject of “targeted cost reduction programmes to improve efficiency and build a sustainable operating base”, including reducing staff by 12 per cent.

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