Ireland's eircom names former Vodafone exec CEO

Fri May 15, 2009 10:06pm IST

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* New CEO Paul Donovan earlier led Vodafone's Irish unit

* Eircom fighting takeover approach, working to cut debt

DUBLIN, May 15 (Reuters) - Eircom on Friday appointed former Vodafone (VOD.L) executive Paul Donovan as chief executive to lead the indebted Irish telecoms group which has been fighting a takeover approach from its former management.

Donovan's nine years at the world's largest mobile operator included three years as chief executive of Vodafone Ireland and most recently he led Vodafone's operations in Central Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific.

"Paul's vast industry experience and specific knowledge of the Irish market will be critical in leading the group through the major challenges that lie ahead," eircom Chairman Ned Sullivan said in a statement.

Earlier this week eircom unveiled a deal with unions to cut 1,200 jobs and freeze pay to cut costs and help tackle a 3 billion euro plus debt pile. [ID:nLC819421] Eircom is also fighting a takeover approach led by former Babcock & Brown director Rob Topfer's TaemasBridge group.

Topfer oversaw eircom's takeover in 2006 by Babcock & Brown and he is now trying to buy eircom's Australian-based parent company Babcock & Brown Capital Ltd (BCM) BCM.AX with a A$176 million offer. BCM also owns the Israeli Golden Pages.

Donovan will take up his job at eircom from July. (Reporting by Andras Gergely; Editing by Hans Peters)