Major changes appear to be underway at New Zealand's new mobile carrier 2 Degrees.
Mike Reynolds is leaving the post of CEO after Trilogy Group upped its stake in the company.
The news first appeared on the company's Wikipedia page, a notoriously unreliable source, but a call to the company this morning led the the response that an announcement would be released later today (see update below).
Spokesperson Bryony Hilless said at first she couldn't comment until later in the day and then, when told about the Wikipedia entry, said an announcement would be released later this morning.
2 Degrees is in the middle of a major marketing push, featuring Kiwi comedian Rhys Darby, with television ads pumping its new network offerings. It recently signed 10,000 users for a trial of its SIM cards and is widely expected to launch next month.
A further call to the company's PR agency elicited a confirmation that Trilogy had boosted its stake. To the suggestion Reynolds was leaving, the comment given was "not right now".
This morning, the 2 Degrees Wikipedia entry read: "In July 2009, Trilogy International Partners upped its stake in 2Degrees to 52%, and CEO Mike Reynolds left the company. His replacement is Eric ..."
It appears (see below) the "Eric" is Eric Hertz, a 30-year industry veteran, most recently of Zumobi in Seattle Washington.
Before that, he was chief operating officer of Western Wireless a wireless voice and data services company with presence in 20 states in the United States and 11 countries around the world.
Update: 2 Degrees has now released a statement confirming Computerworld's scoop this morning:
“We’re delighted to announce that North American telecommunications investor, Trilogy International Partners intends to increase its shareholding in 2 Degrees from 26 percent to 52 percent,” says Stewart Sherriff, deputy chairman of 2 Degrees.
Trilogy has agreed to purchase the interest held in 2 Degrees by Hong Kong based General Enterprise Management Services (GEMS) in exchange for approximately 8 percent of Trilogy equity. The company says this fortifies 2 Degrees to take on New Zealand's incumbent mobile operators.
CEO Reynolds, the releases says, will return to a new job in the US.
“I look forward to continuing to contribute to the success of 2 Degrees in a different capacity and I'm pleased to be handing over the leadership of the company to Eric Hertz. In true 2 Degrees fashion where everyone knows someone who knows some one… I’ve known Eric for many years and worked with him in the past, and I can assure you the future of 2 Degrees is very bright with Eric at the helm," Reynolds says in a statement.
The shareholders in 2degrees are Trilogy, 52 percent, London based Communication Venture Partners (CVP), 26 percent, Hautaki Trust, 20 percent and business associates, 2 percent.