EE turns to ex-marketer for top job as BT takeover looms

EE’s current CEO Olaf Swantee is to step down as CEO, with the phone network’s chief commercial officer Marc Allera set to replace him in the role.

Allera has experience in marketing stretching back three decades having previously led the marketing functions at the likes of Sega and Three. And he will take on the role of chief executive once the Competition and Markets Authority formally approves BT’s pending takeover of EE.

“Under Olaf’s leadership EE has delivered on every level. Based on a strategy of network and service supremacy, EE has shown a tremendously successful market and financial performance over a number of years,” says EE’s chairman Thomas Dannenfeldt.

“Marc has already greatly contributed to this success in the past and I wish him the best of luck in his new role.”

Allera becoming CEO of EE follows a recent trend of marketers taking on the top job at major brands.

Over 20% of all FTSE 100 CEOs now come from a sales or marketing background, according to executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles. Tesco’s Dave Lewis (who helped create the ‘Real Beauty’ campaign for Dove while at Unilever) and Easyjet’s Carolyn McCall (previously president of Women in Advertising and Communications London) are two high profile examples.

BT takeover

BT has already agreed terms ahead of its £ takeover of EE as it bids to create a quad-play superpower. But some analysts have suggested the fall of the EE brand is “inevitable” as BT uses the deal to join Virgin and TalkTalk in creating a full complement of communications services for the home, including broadband, TV, landline and mobile.

However, last year, BT chief executive Gavin Patterson insisted the EE brand would remain “for at least the short term” following the completion of the deal.

EE remains a strong brand according to YouGov Brand Index data. On its rankings of the UK’s 31 biggest handset and mobile operators, it currently sits 12th with a score of 4.4. In terms of mobile operators it sits 4th behind O2, Virgin Mobile and Tesco Mobile.