Cable & Wireless' chief executive Dick Brown will leave the telecomms giant in January to head technology services leader Electronic Data Systems (EDS).
Brown's departure comes just weeks after the chief executive of Cable & Wireless' US division quit, reportedly over a fall out with his boss. A spokeswoman said the two departures were not related.
On joining EDS as chairman and chief executive on 15 January, 1999, Brown will take the reins of a $15.2 billion services company tackling the likes of IBM and Anderson Consulting. Brown described the opportunity for him at EDS as "exceptional."
Rod Olsen, an 18 year Cable & Wireless veteran has been appointed as acting chief executive, although the company said it will actively seek a replacement for Brown.
Brown said in a statement that the decision to leave was a difficult one, but added that it coincided with a number of personal and family reasons. Brown's appointment will also mean a move back to his home turf in the US.
During his 29 months at Cable & Wireless, Brown has turned the company from a relatively unknown player outside the UK and Hong Kong into a global operator. Brown negotiated some 21 deals worth over $21 billion, including the purchase of MCI's Internet business that gave the company a strong foothold in the US.
Since Brown's arrival in 1996, Cable & Wireless' pretax profits have increased 60 per cent to $3.7 billion, with turnover up 26 per cent to $11.9 billion in 1998.
Last month, Rich Yalen quit as chief executive of Cable & Wireless US after a six year run. Reports said his departure followed a disagreement with his boss Carl Grivner, head of Cable & Wireless' US, Caribbean and Panamanian operations.
Brown succeeds Lester Alberthal, who resigned in August amid criticism from some shareholders about the size of his compesation package.
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