Latest reshuffle sees 3 name new chief operating officer

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The Independent Online

The mobile phone operator 3 yesterday rejigged its senior management team again, hiring a chief operating officer to look after its sales and marketing push to try to kickstart sales of its next generation handsets.

Gareth Jones, who spent eight years working for mobile phone operator Orange, has been named chief operating officer of 3 with a remit to oversee marketing, sales and distribution.

The move will see Mr Jones take responsibility for much of the work currently done by Lisa Gernon, the company's strategy and marketing director, who had been widely rumoured to be on the way out.

A spokesman insisted, however, that Ms Gernon had always planned to step aside after the company had launched its third generation mobile service. She is staying at 3 in an "advisory position".

The management reshuffle is the second in a fortnight after the managing director, Colin Tucker, was pushed aside to make way for a new chief executive after the company got off to a slow start in the UK.

The company was launched on 3/3/3 but has been beset by a host of technical problems. It now seems unlikely the company will even get close to its target of one million customers in the UK by the end of the year.

Bob Fuller, the head of 3's Italian operation, was drafted in to head the UK business. 3 is perceived to have performed far better in Italy, selling five times as many handsets as it has in the UK.

The operator said yesterday that Mr Jones would be responsible for all the customer-facing elements of the business, including its stores and contact centres, as well as products and services.

Mr Jones was director of sales and distribution for Orange until 2001 when he left to join GolfLogix - a company which develops technology for golfers, where he is still non-executive chairman.

Mr Fuller, who worked with Mr Jones before at Orange, said: "When I joined 3 UK I initiated an operational review that is now under way. As part of that process ... I have appointed Gareth Jones as chief operating officer."

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