February 25, 2018 / 11:29 PM / 20 days ago

UPDATE 1-Australia's Vocus Group CEO to step down; re-affirms forecast

(Adds reiteration of full-year profit forecast, background)

Feb 26 (Reuters) - Australian phone company Vocus Group said on Monday its Chief Executive Geoff Horth will step down after two years in the job, and reiterated its recently reduced fiscal 2018 guidance.

The Sydney-based company said its wholesale and international division boss Michael Simmons would assume Horth’s role on an interim basis.

Horth would officialy leave immediately but would make himself available to the company during the transition period, a spokeswoman for the firm said.

“The Board and Mr Horth have been engaged in CEO succession considerations since earlier this year, as part of the company’s previously stated program of renewal at both Board and executive levels,” Vocus said in a statement.

Australia’s no. 4 phone company, which is in a turnaround phase and has been struggling to manage its debt load, announced restructure plans last month to simplify its business structure to aid its turnaround efforts.

Last week, Vocus cut its full-year underlying profit forecast to A$125 million ($98.05 million) to A$135 million and reported a lower first-half profit. The company said it had lost fixed-line customers and accepted it had misjudged the profitability of fibre-optic broadband.

$1 = 1.2749 Australian dollars Reporting By Rushil Dutta in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin

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