Dick Brown, chief executive of Cable and Wireless, got major support from his company chairman today for producing extraordinary results.
Introducing the yearly figures, Brian Smith, the company chairman, said: "When I introduced our chief executive Dick Brown to you a year ago, I said I would be disappointed if Dick did not make changes. I have not been disappointed."
Dick, said Smith, was a man who got things done. "The Monday morning he arrived to start his new job not at 9 o'clock as we expected but at 6.30. His poor secretaries have to work in relays to keep up with him. We pay him high but we work him hard. When we first announced that Dick was joining us, the general reaction from analysts and the City was 'Dick who?'".
C&W has grown its turnover by 13 per cent, generated cash of #2.2 billion and grew operating profit by 17 per cent to over #1.5 billion, said Smith.
He claimed that by merging Mercury with three cable companies, C&W had gained "direct access" to six million extra customers and "created the local loop" that Mercury on its own never had.
Dick Brown, he confirmed, signed an agreement earlier this month with the Chinese Minister of Posts and Telecommunications. "It is another major advance in the Company's growth," he said.
C&W will sell 5.5 per cent of Hongkong Telecom to China Telecom for #726 million, he said. "We are delighted to have China Telecom as a shareholder in Hongkong Telecom and delighted, also, to have reinforced our long-standing relationship with China itself."
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