In April, the phone rang - "You may not remember me, but we worked together on the Virgin Media rebrand...." Bryn was now CTO at Three. He needed help making sure negotiations on a key strategic programme involving MBNL, Three's network joint venture with EE, were successful and completed on time.
From the beginning, I was impressed. The level of ownership was higher than I'd seen anywhere else. My role was to coach, schedule, push, help define, structure, facilitate, and evolve our approach and methodology as negotiations progressed. Every day, the question was, what can we close?
TalkTalk Group plc2009 - 2012
Disciplining go to market processes
Nine months after acquiring Tiscali for its broadband base, TalkTalk had decided to capitalise on the Emmy-award winning design talent in the Tiscali TV team by launching television to the full TalkTalk base, changing the nature of the business from dual to triple play. The market was excited. The company was investing in what is now known as YouView, a JV of seven parties looking to change the face of TV in the UK. Max was Executive Director of TV, and it was his job to get it done.
Over the next three years, I led the programme that designed, built and brought to market TalkTalk's capability to sell, provide, operate and support TV.
Delivering business change on time
In March 2006, NTL and Telewest merged to create NTL:Telewest. In July, the company purchased Virgin Mobile UK, and in November signed a deal with Sir Richard Branson to license the Virgin brand for the combined business.
On my first day, Brand Director Ashley Stockwell showed me the (still secret) Virgin Media logo. His job was to transform the business from ntl:Telewest to Virgin Media, a bigger challenge than it sounded. It meant changing attitudes, the culture, the spirit, and the potential of the business. I helped him get the job done.
Globally impactful programme management
It was like entering another world. In February 2008, BHP Billiton, the world's biggest mining company, launched a $147B hostile bid for Rio Tinto, the second biggest. The deal had massive implications for international resource prices and national and international economies.
The Rio deal table included senior bankers from Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, Macquarie, NM Rothschild, Credit Suisse and JP Morgan Cazenove. No deal they'd ever been involved in had had independent programme management. My job was to build the (global, complex) plan and daily call script to support the effort to deliver value for Rio shareholders.
Post merger integration
Spirit Group was a managed pub operator demerged from Punch Taverns in 2002. It acquired Scottish & Newcastle's retail business, more than doubling the estate to 2500 pubs before itself being re-acquired by Punch in 2006. From 2002-2006, Spirit was led by the dynamic Karen Jones, founder of Cafe Rouge and a staunch believer in customer focus.
We were asked in to streamline the company's capital and commercial governance processes. And then the fun began. Spirit acquired S&NR and went from £500M to £1.7B in sales overnight. Synergies from the combined 34 formats were there to be had, but would take hard work. We were asked to stay, and help.