[H. Brian Thompson Named Chairman & CEO of Global TeleSystems]|
McLEAN, Va., March 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The Global TeleSystems Group, Inc. (GTS) (Nasdaq and Easdaq: GTSG) board of directors today announced the election of H. Brian Thompson, a senior executive at the forefront of the telecommunications industry, as chairman and chief executive officer (CEO).
"Having Brian Thompson agree to join us as chairman and CEO is a stunning triumph for GTS at a pivotal time in the company's history," said Alan B. Slifka, the chairman of GTS for the past nine years.
Slifka, who has been named executive vice chairman, went on to say, "Gerald W. Thames has been a terrific entrepreneurial chief executive officer for GTS the last five years. Through his vision and leadership, Jerry has successfully taken GTS from being a small Russian telecommunications company to one of the leading players in the emerging competitive telecommunications market of Western Europe, while increasing the company's market capitalization from approximately US$25 million to approximately US$7 billion. Jerry will remain as executive vice chairman of the board and continue to spearhead the company's strategic development and merger-and-acquisition activities, working closely with Thompson."
"Brian Thompson has a proven management track record for developing world-class enterprises. With Brian as chairman and CEO, we believe that we can continue to build GTS into a leading telecommunications company in Europe, and beyond," Thames commented. "We intend to capitalize on the unique, one-time opportunity created by the worldwide deregulation of telecommunications."
"I am pleased that Jerry and I will be working closely together in growing GTS to the next level," said Thompson. "Jerry has demonstrated a unique ability to identify key emerging companies which, when combined, offer leading edge, low-cost products and services."
"I am also delighted that Robert J. Amman, currently on the board of directors of GTS, has agreed to my request to join GTS as president of the company to help build and integrate a solid group of assets and a leading market position in Europe," Thompson said. "Bob will have responsibility for the continued development and success of our lines of business."
"Having spent almost 20 years actively participating in the creation of a competitive telecommunications industry in the United States, I am extremely pleased to now be able to become an integral player in the development of a truly competitive European telephone industry," commented Thompson. "The European market offers an unparalleled opportunity because the development of intense competition will be compressed into a very short period and the competitive long distance, local and broadband data markets are developing simultaneously, as compared to sequentially in the United States.
"Moreover, the advent of new, low-cost, IP data networks revolutionizes the economics of the telecommunications industry and provides GTS, through its Hermes Europe Railtel and Esprit Telecom networks, with major competitive advantages in a market fragmented among higher-cost, slower moving, national telephone companies. Combining the leading market position of Esprit Telecom and NetSource with Europe's most extensive cross-border backbone network of Hermes Europe Railtel and Ebone, GTS is now positioned to build the first pan-European brand name in telecommunications," noted Thompson. "GTS has evolved from a brilliant concept building for the future, into a company truly armed with the leading edge products, technology, low-cost structure and proven management capability necessary to compete with the newly deregulated market. We expect to build a great operating company delivering the highest quality, lowest cost telecommunications services to all segments of the market including individual consumers, small- to medium-sized businesses, and large corporations."
Thompson, 59, has been instrumental in developing two market-leading companies during his telecommunications career. Most recently, as chairman and CEO of LCI International, Thompson transformed a money-losing, debt-laden, US$220-million regional long distance company into a US$2 billion national, top-ranked competitor to the largest U.S. long distance carriers. Thompson joined LCI in 1991 and merged LCI, with an enterprise value of over $5 billion, into Qwest Communications International in June 1998. At that time, Thompson became vice chairman of Qwest's board of directors, until he resigned at the end of 1998.
Prior to LCI, from 1981 through 1990, Thompson served as a senior member of management for MCI Communications, during which time MCI grew from a US$230 million revenue company to an US$8 billion enterprise. As executive vice president, Thompson had responsibility for MCI's eight operating divisions, including MCI International, and oversaw some of MCI's fastest and most profitable revenue growth. Additionally, Thompson was instrumental in architecting the internationalization of MCI's network and operations through the acquisition in 1982 of Western Union International, and the subsequent development of bilateral agreements with the world's numerous postal telegraph and telecommunications administrations (PTTs). Before MCI, Thompson spent nine years with McKinsey & Company where he advised some of the then-largest information technology and telecommunications companies.
Thompson's recent activities in international telecommunications include his appointments as non-executive chairman of Telecom Eireann and as co-chairman of the Global Information Infrastructure Commission formed in Brussels in 1994. Also, Thompson is a member of the board of directors of Bell Canada International and Pagenet do Brazil, has served on the board of Comcast UK Cable Partners, and is a former chairman of the U.S. Competitive Telecommunications Association (COMPTEL).