HomeFinancial/RegulationLiberty Global creates new role for veteran exec in drive for value

    Liberty Global creates new role for veteran exec in drive for value


    Severina Pascu is appointed Senior Vice President, Commercial and Operations as the group looks for improved share price

    Liberty Global has appointed Severina Pascu to the newly created role of Senior Vice President, Commercial and Operations, reporting directly to Liberty Global’s CEO Mike Fries.

    Fries is on a mission to shake up Liberty Global’s European businesses, contemplating a range of options to improve its share price which has fallen 5% since the beginning of January. 

    He said a number of interviews during 2023 that nothing is off the table in his quest to ensure share price reflects the group’s true value. For example, last October, Liberty Global gained 100% ownership of Telenet Group Holding via its wholly-owned subsidiary, Liberty Global Belgium Holding and then delisted the unit from Euronext Brussels.

    Last July, Liberty Global announced its shareholders voted in favour of the company changing its jurisdiction of incorporation from England and Wales to Bermuda. The argument for the shift is that it, “incorporation facilitates value-enhancing transactions and reduces administrative burdens and expenses, while preserving strong accountability and corporate governance”.

    Last October, Virgin Media O2, Liberty Global’s UK opco agreed to sell a 16.67% minority stake in its mobile tower joint venture, Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited to the UK-based infrastructure fund, GLIL Infrastructure LLP.

    In February, the group reported a 1.5% year-on-year drop on a like-for-like basis in annual revenues to almost $7.5 billion (€6.9 billion) for 2023 and an operating loss of $3.87 billion. It made a number of announcements the same month.

    In the UK, Virgin Media O2, which is owned 50:50 by Liberty Global and Telefonica, launched a wholesale NetCo business.

    Liberty Global will list its shares in Swiss opco Sunrise on the SIX Swiss stock exchange in the second half of 2024 then spin out its entire holding to Liberty Global shareholders.

    The group has set up a holding company, Liberty Global Benelux, to manage Telenet’s operations in Belgium and VodafoneZiggo in the Netherlands, in which it has a 50% stake.

    Liberty Global is to raise $400 million from its share in the sale of TV production and distribution company All3Media to RedBirdIMI for £1.15 billion.

    It announced that subsidiary Telenet was setting up a Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) pilot with Nokia and others at the Port of Antwerp, one of the largest in the world to develop maritime use cases. It has also set up a strategic partnership with AWS to create a NaaS framework.

    In short, Pascu is assuming the mantle at a time of great flux for Liberty Global, reporting to a CEO who is in a hurry for results.

    She has worked for the group since 2007 in a series of senior roles and brings “operating and commercial expertise in the management of the company’s core FMC [fixed-mobile convergence] champions and venture activities.”

    With a cross-functional team, she will be responsible for specific growth and operational improvement programmes in consumer and business segments. The plan is to leverage “scale and excellence across the organization”. There will be no change in the reporting structure of our current operating CEOs at the country level.

    Mike Fries, CEO, Liberty Global, commented, “Severina is a world-class operator and leader. Her strong focus on driving change will be instrumental in accelerating the execution of our in-market strategies and shaping our future success. I’m excited to work more closely with her as we implement our value creation strategies across the group.”

    Since joining Liberty Global in 2007 as CFO of UPC Romania, Pascu has held positions in many of Liberty Global’s European operations, including helping lead the turnaround of UPC Switzerland as CEO before moving to Virgin Media as CFO and Deputy CEO.

    Most recently, she was involved in the merger of Sunrise and UPC Switzerland as Deputy CEO and Chief Commercial Officer for Sunrise.

    Prior to joining Liberty Global, Pascu held a number of senior management positions in international companies.