Starhub CEO to retire; global search for new chief executive starts immediately

Peter Kaliaropoulos said he returned to Sydney urgently to be closer to his family due to the unforeseen and serious health issues of a close family member. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - StarHub announced on Monday (July 27) that its chief executive, Mr Peter Kaliaropoulos, will retire and step down from his position from Oct 31.

Mr Kaliaropoulos, an Australian, said he returned to Sydney urgently to be closer to his family due to the unforeseen and serious health issues of a close family member.

"Following almost 40 years in the industry across multiple countries, it is also the right moment in my career to step down from full-time executive roles," he added.

The company said it will immediately commence a global search for a new CEO.

In a statement, StarHub said that its board will establish an interim board executive committee to provide support to the company's leadership team during the search for a new chief executive and to oversee the smooth transition once that person is selected.

It added that Mr Kaliaropoulos will serve as a co-opted member on the interim board executive committee until the new chief executive is hired.

When asked if StarHub would consider selecting a Singaporean as its next CEO, Mr Kaliaropoulos said that he could not speak for the interim committee, but added that the best person available would be selected and that StarHub was likely to look within the company, locally and globally.

Mr Kaliaropoulos' time as CEO is his second stint with the telecommunications company.

The 61-year-old first joined StarHub in January 1999 as senior vice-president of commercial operations. He then left in June 2000 to take on several C-suite roles in New Zealand, Australia and the Middle East.

In July 2018, Mr Kaliaropoulos rejoined StarHub as its CEO.

In October of the same year, he oversaw a $25 million retrenchment exercise during which 300 of the company's 2,500 employees were laid off as part of the company's strategic transformation programme.

StarHub said then that the programme aimed to improve operational efficiencies and productivity, and was expected to realise $210 million in savings over a three-year period from 2019.

The company took a big hit in the first quarter of this year owing to the Covid- 19 pandemic.

Net profit for the three months to March 31 fell 25.7 per cent from a year earlier to $40.2 million, while revenue dropped 15.2 per cent to $506.2 million.

Mr Kaliaropoulos said then that the results reflected "the impact of Covid-19 and the early softening of the economic environment".

In April, a joint StarHub-M1 venture won a licence to build a nationwide 5G network in Singapore that would blanket the whole island with 5G connectivity by 2025.

The company said that during his time at the helm, Mr Kaliaropoulos "initiated a sweeping strategic transformation program to accelerate StarHub's digital evolution, improve customers' experience, optimise efficiencies, redefine and ignite a cultural transformation for staff, and identify growth opportunities".

Mr Kaliaropoulos said that he was extremely fortunate to have been a member of the StarHub team twice, adding that he felt he was leaving the company in good hands.

"We have put a team together of very experienced professionals, and even if one member of the board steps down, the team is certainly good enough and strong enough to keep driving the business forward," he said and added that the company's strategic transformation is "well underway but not complete".

StarHub chairman Terry Clontz said: "Peter built a formidable executive leadership team which is a cohesive, united group of seasoned professionals with the right passion and focus to continue our transformation journey to improve both our customers' and employees' experiences with our brand during these challenging times.

"On behalf of the StarHub board, I would like to express our gratitude towards Peter for his many invaluable contributions in both the strategic and business sustainability aspects of the group in the last two years. We wish him well for his retirement."

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