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Cable & Wireless loses international boss

Boardroom coup?

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The international chief executive of Cable & Wireless, Harris Jones, is leaving the company.

In a note in its interim management report, C&W said Harris Jones is to step down from today and leave the business towards the end of 2007. "John Pluthero is to become Executive Chairman of International with immediate effect," it says, "while continuing a similar role for Europe, Asia and US."

Lord Robertson of Port Ellen steps down as non-executive chairman of International but stays on as an advisor.

Jones gets a £4.3m pay-off as his share of the "Long Term Incentive Plan" and, reportedly, £600,000 for a year's salary.

Pluthero gets 50 per cent of Jones's LTIP once that payment has been made.

C&W shareholders have previously complained at levels of executive pay but shares are broadly unchanged on the LSE.

The departure is a surprise, but Jones and Pluthero have not always seen eye to eye. Jones was made international CEO in January 2006 in partnership with Pluthero, who ran the UK business. But the UK business was then renamed Europe, Asia and US, while Jones refused to rename the international business.

C&W chairman Richard Lapthorne denied there had been any falling-out between the board and Jones. There's more from the Times and the Guardian.

The company also released interim figures for the six months ended 30 September 2007. C&W grew group EBITDA by 29 per cent to £284m, but total revenues were down to £1.56bn from 1.72bn for the six months ended 30 September 2006. Operating profit, excluding exceptionals, was £120m compared to £95m in 2006.

The full statement is available as a pdf here - the info on management changes is on page nine. ®

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