Telenet Group Holding NV, the Belgian cable operator controlled by Liberty Global Inc., said Duco Sickinghe will step down as chief executive officer at the end of the month and will be succeeded by John Porter.
Telenet and Sickinghe, who headed Telenet for almost 12 years, decided in mutual agreement that he will end his executive duties on March 31 and continue as a director until the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting on April 24, Telenet said in a statement. Sickinghe didn’t comment on his next move.
Porter, 55, was CEO of Austar United Communications Ltd., a provider of subscription television in Australia that was controlled by Liberty Global until it was sold to Foxtel last year. Porter has 30 years of experience in the industry and is the “ideal candidate” to lead Telenet in its next growth phase, Telenet said. Porter’s “track record and history with Liberty Global will ensure the continued momentum and success of Telenet,” the company said.
“We regret that Duco Sickinghe is leaving Telenet as he was key in the success of Telenet,” Emmanuel Carlier, an analyst at ING Groep NV in Brussels, wrote today in a note. His leadership resulted in the company “systematically outperforming its peers and the market.”
Shares in Telenet fell as much as 3.4 percent to 37.745 euros in Brussels trading, the biggest intraday percentage decline since Liberty Global said it wouldn’t raise an offer to gain full control of Telenet on Jan. 18. The stock traded at 38.125 euros, down 2.4 percent, at 11:20 a.m. local time.
“We fully respect Duco’s decision and we have very much appreciated his contributions to the Company during his tenure,” Telenet said.