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Vodafone, Liberty Global name Dutch JV appointments

Vodafone Group and Liberty Global have announced their intention to appoint Jeroen Hoencamp as Chief Executive and Ritchy Drost as Chief Financial Officer of the two companies’ proposed 50‐50 joint venture business combining Vodafone Netherlands and Liberty Global’s broadband quad-play operator Ziggo. The merger is subject to approval by the relevant competition authorities.

Jeroen Hoencamp is currently the Chief Executive of Vodafone UK.  A Dutch citizen, he has led Vodafone’s UK business since September 2013 and was previously Chief Executive of Vodafone Ireland. Before that, he spent 12 years in a number of senior executive roles (including Sales Director and Enterprise Business Unit Director) with Vodafone Netherlands. Earlier in his career he worked in senior marketing and sales positions with Canon Southern Copy Machines, Inc. in the USA and Thorn EMI/Skala Home Electronics in The Netherlands. He is a former officer in the Royal Dutch Marine Corps.

In anticipation of the joint venture closing, Vodafone Group also announced that Jeroen Hoencamp will assume the position of Chief Executive of Vodafone Netherlands, effective 1 September 2016.

Ritchy Drost is currently Chief Financial Officer of Ziggo, a position he has held since September 2015. Over a 17‐year career with Liberty Global, he has held a number of senior management positions including Chief Financial Officer, European Broadband Operations and Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer of UPC Netherlands, Liberty’s predecessor Dutch cable operation. Prior to joining Liberty Global, Ritchy was an auditor at Arthur Andersen.

These appointments are subject to works council consultation.

Additionally, Liberty Global announced that Ziggo Chief Executive Baptiest Coopmans will remain in his current position as CEO until completion of the transaction, after which he will join the supervisory board of the joint venture as one of Liberty Global’s appointed directors. Coopmans has held the Chief Executive position at Ziggo since November 2014 and successfully led the merger and integration of UPC and Ziggo.

Vodafone Netherlands Chief Financial Officer Carmen Velthuis will remain in her current position until the merger has completed. Vodafone will announce her subsequent assignment in due course.

Vodafone Group Chief Executive Vittorio Colao and Liberty Global Chief Executive Officer Mike Fries said: “Jeroen and Ritchy are experienced business leaders with extensive operational, strategic and merger integration experience. We are delighted they will be shaping our companies’ shared mission to create a strong and competitive integrated communications provider serving consumers, businesses and public sector customers in the Dutch market.”

Fries added: “I am particularly pleased that Baptiest Coopmans has agreed to join the joint venture supervisory board once the transaction is completed. He is an experienced leader and a trusted member of my executive team whose knowledge of the Dutch broadband and pay-TV market will be invaluable. I look forward to working with Baptiest in this new role and exploring other opportunities in the Liberty group.”

At the time of the JV announcement in mid-February 2016, Tthe pair said that combining cable MSO’s Ziggo’s fibre-rich broadband network with Vodafone’s leading mobile operations would create a stronger fixed and mobile competitor in the Dutch market, delivering significant benefits for consumers, businesses and the public sector through investment in digital infrastructure and customer experience.

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