WIND picks former Public Mobile head as new CEO

Wind Mobile

WIND Mobile has chosen a new CEO, a veteran of the Canadian mobile space.

After a brief five-month sojourn, Pietro Cordova, who started at the company as COO in 2012, has been replaced by former Public Mobile head, Alek Krstajic. The move comes on the same day WIND’s current Chairman, Tony Lacavera, is moving into an honorary role, with Rob MacLellan, former Non-Executive Chairman of Northleaf Capital Partners, elected to chair the board.

Krstajic comes to WIND after selling Public Mobile to TELUS in 2013, the only new entrant to come out of the 2008 AWS spectrum auction with a government-approved acquisition. With TELUS set to relaunch Public Mobile as a “self-service value brand,” Krstajic was waiting for the right time to make the move over to another up-and-coming network provider. Lacavera told us during an interview that he’s been trying to get Krstajic to join WIND since 2008.

WIND Mobile is in a much better position than it was a year ago. After leveraging several US-based equity firms to buy out former owner VimpelCom’s stake in the company, WIND began raising the money necessary to bid in the recent AWS-3 auction, during which it used its established position to obtain 30Mhz of prime spectrum in Southern Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

As Cordova moves to another position at VimpelCom, which bought WIND’s former parent company Orascom back in 2010, the now-independent Canadian arm has added two new board members in addition to MacLellan.

David R. Carey, T-Mobile’s EVP of Corporate Services, joins the board as a 35-year veteran of the U.S. telecom space. Over the years, WIND Mobile has developed strong ties to T-Mobile U.S., thanks to a lucrative and expanding roaming agreement. Until recently, WIND was also limited to purchasing devices with the same radio bands as T-Mobile, since both networks relied on AWS frequencies for their 3G networks.

Also joining the board is Hamid Akhavan, Principal at Telecom Ventures LLC and former CEO of T-Mobile.

WIND’s new CEO was previously president of Bell Mobility, and before that held the role of Senior Vice President of Rogers Cable. He also admitted in an interview with The Globe and Mail that he’s been on WIND’s board since September, claiming he “know[s] what the business plan is, so it’s not like I have to get brought up to speed.”

According to both Krstajic and Lacavera, T-Mobile is a good model to emulate in the Canadian market, as its Uncarrier marketing strategy has led to several quarters of subscriber growth. WIND now has to wait for the AWS-3 handset market to develop, but with the FCC recently completing its own $40 billion AWS-3 auction, the first devices should hit the market in early 2016.

[source]WIND Mobile[/source]