Saving Cell C: an interview with Douglas Craigie Stevenson

Spare a thought for Douglas Craigie Stevenson. The Cell C CEO is leading one of the most complex and difficult business turnarounds in South African corporate history.
Craigie Stevenson tells TechCentral's Duncan McLeod in this episode of TC|Daily that it's been a stressful few years for the company's management team, but that the long-delayed but recently concluded recapitalisation of the mobile operator's balance sheet has finally put it on a much more sustainable footing.
It could all have gone pear-shaped, but Cell C's stakeholders, including its bondholders and its shareholders, have stuck with the business, believing, he says, that, despite its troubles, there is real underlying value that was worth saving.
Unlike the previous recap, which did little to solve Cell C's balance sheet woes, Craigie Stevenson explains in the interview that a new strategy and operating model - one in which the company doesn't try to compete with bigger rivals MTN and Vodacom in capital spending - means that it isn't going to repeat the mistakes of the past.
That doesn't mean, though, that there isn't still hard work ahead for Craigie Stevenson, his leadership team and Cell C employees, but at least the operator is no longer facing the prospect of going bust.
In this episode of TC|Daily, Craigie Stevenson discusses:
* Cell C's balance sheet after the recap and what it will look like three years from now and why.
* Why Cell C was worth saving.
* How Cell C works with Blue Label, its largest shareholder.
* How Cell C's strategy differs from its rivals, and what that means for consumers.
* The progress in shutting down the company's radio access network and what's involved in the project.
* Who Cell C wants as a customer, and why consumers should choose Cell C over its rivals.
* The importance of mobile virtual network operators to its business.
* The importance of having the right company culture.
* Whether MTN's proposed acquisition of Telkom should be allowed to proceed.
It's a fascinating discussion - don't miss it!
6 Oct 2022 8AM English South Africa Technology · Business

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