Caymanian to take over as local Digicel chief executive

Raul Nicholson-Coe has been named chief executive officer for Digicel’s Cayman Islands operation effective June 1. He will have responsibility for driving all aspects of the business as it continues its transformation into a complete communications and entertainment provider, Digicel said.

Mr. Nicholson-Coe succeeds Chief Executive Martin Bould, who will remain until the end of June for the transition.

Mr. Nicholson-Coe joined Digicel as director of business development in 2009 and was promoted to chief operating officer in 2012. He previously held executive roles as CEO for AT&T Wireless/Cingular operations and as president and chief operating officer for TeleCayman Ltd.

He was director of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority from 2009 to 2014.

“I look forward to working with the local and regional teams in this new capacity at a point when Digicel is transforming for the future,” he said. “I am particularly excited about our continued investments in the mobile network and internet data services as well as implementing investment strategies to enhance our local and international fiber optic networks.

“I am confident that Digicel’s capital investments will ensure that the Cayman Islands remains an attractive place for residents and visitors – as well as the preferred jurisdiction for international businesses to operate.”

Challenges

Digicel, like other telecommunications companies, is facing strong competition from Google, Facebook, WhatsApp and other “over-the-top” players that enable phone calls without a subscription to the network. At the same time, telecoms have to manage changing customer needs in terms of data usage.

As a result, all telecommunication companies need to reinvent themselves, find new revenues, rationalize their cost base and invest in infrastructure, whether that is fiber or 4G and 5G networks, Mr. Bould said.

To cope with these demands, Digicel this year started a network partnership with Chinese network manufacturer ZTE for the rollout of fast fiber and LTE networks across the region.

Digicel is also centralizing many of its back-office functions, such as finance, human resources and marketing.

The company offered staff a compensation package under an enhanced voluntary separation program. The first group of employees left the company in April. In Cayman, only four people took that option, Mr. Bould said, adding that the impact locally will be small compared to other locations. Globally the initiative will reduce the company’s workforce by a quarter over the next 18 months.

Digicel is also undertaking investments in technology to offer multiple customer contact options with self-care, an enhanced My Digicel app, live chat, email and increased interaction on digital channels.

The new CEO

Mr. Nicholson-Coe currently serves as a trustee on the board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce Pension Fund, and he is a member of the Cayman Islands Cycling Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cayman Islands and the board of the International College of the Cayman Islands. He also served as a member of the board of Cayman Utilities Company from 2001 to 2005.

Mr. Nicholson-Coe holds a diploma in telecommunications engineering and has completed executive management courses at the Wharton Business School in the U.S. as well as MBA courses from Heriot Watt University in Scotland.

Vanessa Slowey, Digicel Caribbean and Central America CEO, thanked Mr. Bould for his leadership and contribution over the past three years.

She also recognized and welcomed Mr. Nicholson-Coe. “Raul has served our Cayman Islands operations at a senior level for the past eight years, and we are confident that with his in-depth knowledge of the market and our customers, he will take our Cayman Islands operations to the next level, ensuring the best communications experience for all our valued customers.”

Mr. Bould, whose three-year contract has ended, said Digicel likes to move their chief executives every two to three years, and the company has a plan to develop local talent with a strategy to install as many local CEOs as possible.

“It was a fantastic opportunity to come to Cayman and lead the business here through this important period of change and help lay the foundations for the next stage of Digicel’s journey to become Cayman’s leading communications and entertainment provider,” Mr. Bould said.

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