Telewest loses cable chief to Hutchison

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The Independent Online

Bob Fuller, chief executive of Telewest's cable division, is to the leave the company after just eight months in order to lead Hutchison Telecom's move into Italy where it has acquired a third generation mobile phone licence.

Probably best known as one of the Orange millionaires, following the mobile phone company's buyout by Germany's Mannesmann in 1999, Mr Fuller had worked with Hutchison companies for 20 years. He joined Telewest at a time when the cable group was struggling with operational issues and had been forced to delay its rollout of digital services.

Some City analysts were dismayed by the departure. In a research note, one broker observed: "Mr Fuller's experience and leadership would be key to building upon the company's recent good progress – his departure will be a big blow to the company." Telewest is not replacing Mr Fuller immediately.

Commenting on his departure, Mr Fuller said: "I could not resist the opportunity to launch Hutchison's 3G business in Italy."

Mr Fuller left Orange in late 2000 after it was acquired by France Telecom. He had risen to become chief operating officer and director of UK operations there after joining the company in 1990. Prior to that he had been group chief accountant with Hong Kong Electric, a subsidiary of Hutchison.