VMO2 reveals leadership changes
May 3, 2023
By Colin Mann
UK multiplay telco Virgin Media O2 has announced two changes to its Executive Committee as the company dials up its customer-first focus, accelerates its digital transformation strategy and doubles down on key growth initiatives to drive long-term commercial momentum.
Ulrik Bengtsson, the former Chief Executive of William Hill, has joined the company as Chief Operating Officer, replacing Jeff Dodds who has taken a CEO position at another company. Bengtsson will be responsible for improving customer experience and implementing key consumer digital initiatives across all of Virgin Media O2’s customer areas. This includes overseeing customer service, install and field technicians, offline sales and more than 300 retail stores spread across the country.
Bengtsson brings a wide range of operational and digital experience having spent almost three years as CEO of William Hill International from 2019, joining the company as Chief Digital Officer in April 2018. Prior to this, Bengtsson spent five years as CEO of Betsson Group and was the CEO of Viasat Sweden.
Julie Agnew appointed to the role of Managing Director of Fixed Network Expansion having covered this area on an interim basis since the start of the year. Agnew will be primarily focused on delivering fibre rollout on behalf of nexfibre, a joint venture established in 2022 by Liberty Global, Telefónica and InfraVia Capital Partners. Virgin Media O2 is the build supplier and anchor tenant of this network which aims to rollout full fibre to at least 5 million more premises by 2026.
Agnew has extensive experience delivering major infrastructure projects in the UK. Most recently, she held the role of CEO at Egg, which was launched in February 2022 by Liberty Global Ventures, the investment arm of Liberty Global, to offer consumers and businesses a range of de-carbonising technology solutions. Before this Agnew spent 20 years at Virgin Media, latterly as the Executive Director of Construction & Delivery, extending the reach of the company’s broadband network through its Project Lightning programme.
These changes come amid systemic transformation in Virgin Media O2 that reorganises and focuses the entire company on a customer-first, digital-first and converged mentality and mission that lays the ground for future growth.
Gareth Turpin now leads a single consumer commercial division focused on fixed, mobile and convergence growth and performance. This division brings together the commercial and marketing power of Virgin Media and O2 into one place to focus on a single strategy for customers across the brands.
Kay Schwabedal now leads a division focused on digital transformation, product and value creation. This area ensures Virgin Media O2 continues to deliver high quality and resilient products rooted in customer insight. These areas, along with the whole Virgin Media O2 leadership team, will work seamlessly to deliver smart, resilient and quality services that put individual customer experience and needs at the centre.
“As Virgin Media O2 approaches two years as a joint business I’m extremely proud of the progress that we have made, and both Jeff and Rob have played a major part in this success, both before and after the merger,” commented Lutz Schüler, CEO of Virgin Media O2. “As we now look ahead to the next chapter, putting customers right at the heart of our decision making, accelerating our digital transformation activity and ramping up our network build engine, it’s fantastic to have Ulrik and Julie as part of our leadership team.”
“Ulrik brings extensive operational and digital knowledge to the table with a record of delivering transformational changes that create a better customer experience and service. Julie has been part of the Virgin Media and Liberty Global families for many years and knows the network and build landscape inside out.”