O2 chief executive Erskine to quit next year

Peter Erskine, the chairman and chief executive of mobile operator O2, announced he is leaving the company next year. Matthew Key, currently chief executive of 02 UK, has been named as his replacement.

Erskine will step down from his role from 31 January 2008, but will retain a position on the board of Telefonica as non-executive director. He has given no reason for his departure, but describes the move as “sensible and amicable”. Key will take on his new role from 1 February 2008.

Erskine has led a remarkable turnaround in O2’s fortunes over the past six years. He oversaw the rebrand of the company from BT Cellnet to O2, a move which helped it become number one in the UK market.

Last year, O2 was acquired by Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica in an £18bn deal, making O2 part of one of the world’s largest communications companies.

Erskine was named chief executive of the year in the 2006 Marketing Week Effectiveness Awards.

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