C&W set to name cable team

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The Independent Online
Cable & Wireless is expected to announce the rest of the new management team to run its planned pounds 5bn cable TV and telephones venture, C&W Communications, as early as today.

Headhunters from the executive recruitment consultancy Egon Zehnder are thought to have completed their work and passed shortlists of names across to Graham Wallace, C&W Communications' chief executive poached from Granada earlier this year.

The announcements will come as a relief to the main shareholders in the new company, formed out of the merger of Mercury, C&W's UK subsidiary, with cable operators Nynex CableComms and Bell Cablemedia. Bell has already taken over the UK interests of Videotron as a precursor to the main deal.

So far just two other executive posts have been filled apart from Mr Wallace, despite an original internal target of the end of January to get the board in place. Dick Brown, C&W's chief executive, is thought to have set a target of the beginning of April to complete the merger, though investors have yet to receive a formal offer document.

Nicholas Mearing-Smith, Nynex's finance director, is to do the finance job while Martin Hayton is moving from C&W's Hong Kong Telecom as personnel director.

It is not clear how many other executive posts will be revealed this week, though C&W Communications will almost certainly appoint board directors responsible for business customers, retail consumers and a regulatory affairs director.

Sources suggested that Mercury's director in charge of large multi-national customers, Robert Fisher, could get the same job in the new group while Daren Entwistle, another senior Mercury figure, could be in line for head of regulation.

So far no Mercury executives have been awarded senior posts in C&W Communications, a source of concern to other managerial staff in the company. It seems likely that Peter Howell-Davies, Mercury's chief executive, will not be given a role under Mr Wallace, increasing speculation that he may decide to leave C&W altogether.