Former Mercury CEO tipped as next C&W boss
A sudden decision by Duncan Lewis to step down as a shadow director of bankrupt cable operator NTL Inc has raised speculation that he has been lined up to replace Graham Wallace as chief executive of Cable & Wireless Plc.
Lewis was expected to become a director of a restructured NTL when it emerges from Chapter 11 protection but quit after just four months with the company.
As a former chief executive of C&W's former Mercury fixed-line business, he has a high reputation with a company under pressure from investors to replace Wallace with a figure who can turn around the struggling carrier. He left the company in 1995 so is not associated with recent policy yet has retained contacts with board members.
Wallace's strategy of turning C&W into a major global web hosting operation has left the company deep in the red and the final straw has been the news that it could be forced to put £1.5bn ($2.4bn) of its £2.2bn($3.5bn) cash balance in escrow under a deal it negotiated in 1999 when it sold its 50% stake in wireless operator One2One to Deutsche Telekom AG.