Tele Columbus, the third largest German cable MSO, has confirmed that Ronny Verhelst, who has led the company as CEO for nearly seven years since 2011, will leave for personal reasons as of February 1st 2018. He will be succeeded as CEO as of the same date by Timm Degenhardt, who is joining from the Swiss telecommunications provider Sunrise Communications AG.
Degenhardt will join at Tele Columbus as of August 14th 2017, and will become member of the Group’s management board as from September 1st 2017 for an initial term of three years until August 31st 2020. The five months transition period will ensure a smooth handover of responsibilities as well as a continuation in the management of the company. Frank Posnanski will continue in his role as CFO and member of the management board.
Under the leadership of Verhelst, the Tele Columbus Group evolved from a regional infrastructure company into a digital multimedia provider and a strong number three in the German cable market over the last couple of years: The financial restructuring of Tele Columbus and the successful IPO were followed by the integration of the cable companies number four and five in the German market and hence the consolidation of all medium-sized cable players in Germany.
“With the upcoming introduction of a new and consolidated brand in autumn 2017, I will have accomplished my mission at Tele Columbus to make the company fit for the future,” stated Verhelst. “I would like to thank all my colleagues at Tele Columbus for their fantastic commitment as well as all our partners for the excellent cooperation over the past seven years. At the same time, I would like to ask for their understanding regarding my decision to relocate my focal point of life to my home in Belgium.”
“It is almost impossible to adequately value Ronny’s achievements. With his vast experience, his strategic skillset, his strong execution capability and his drive, he successfully managed to turn the company around,” added Frank Donck, chairman of the supervisory board of Tele Columbus. “In the name of the entire supervisory board, I would like to thank Ronny for his achievements and we wish him all the best for his professional and private future. At the same time, we are very happy to have won with Timm Degenhardt a high-qualified and experienced successor. With a strong commercial background and customer focus, Timm is also truly familiar with the telecommunications and infrastructure market and, over the past couple of years, actively shaped the digitalisation of the media industry in several key positions. Together with him, we would like to continue the growth path for Tele Columbus.”
At Sunrise, Degenhardt most recently acted as Chief Consumer Officer and member of the management board with responsibility for the entire consumer business. Prior to this, he was Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Commercial Officer at Sunrise since 2013 and with his drive for both customer orientation and digitalisation laid foundations for the successful Sunrise IPO.
Previously, Degenhardt was CEO at aizo Group, a smart home applications company, since 2010 and Senior Vice President Marketing & Sales at E.ON AG since 2007. This was preceded by several senior leadership positions at American Express and at the telecommunications provider Orange, where he was a member of the management board and Vice President for Marketing and Product Development since 2004. Degenhardt holds a Master of Science in Marketing Management from Nottingham Business School and a degree level diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing in London.
“I am very excited to commence my new role, because I am truly convinced that the new digital applications, the growing demand for media content and the increasing mobile usage will offer great opportunities for a high performance broadband internet and entertainment provider such as Tele Columbus,” declared Degenhardt. “The German market has to catch up a lot in international comparisons when it comes to innovation and adaption of new tech and media trends. In my opinion, a nation-wide yet also locally-footed provider like Tele Columbus offers excellent opportunities to tap that potential.”