(Adds details, background, comment about new CEO from Sunrise)
By John Miller
ZURICH, Jan 3 (Reuters) – Sunrise Communications CEO Olaf Swantee quit while Chairman Peter Kurer will not run for re-election after a shareholder uprising blocked the telecom company’s $6.3 billion bid for Liberty Global’s Swiss cable unit.
Chief Financial Officer Andre Krause, a German national, succeeds Swantee as the new CEO, effective immediately, Sunrise said in a statement on Friday.
Also leaving the board is Vice Chairman Peter Schoepfer, who like Kurer declined to stand for another term after the deal for Liberty’s UPC Switzerland unit failed in October.
Germany’s Freenet, which owns a quarter of Sunrise, led the opposition to the Swiss mobile phone, TV and Internet company’s pursuit of UPC.
In a months-long fight, Swantee and Kurer had become the public faces of the deal, arguing it would have created a more powerful rival to state-owned market leader Swisscom.
Meanwhile, Freenet, a telecommunications company, has accused Swantee and Kurer of driving a transaction that would have saddled Sunrise with “an inferior technology”, at an inflated price and terms favourable to Liberty Global but negative for the Swiss company’s shareholders.
Krause has been at Sunrise since 2011 after a six-year stint as CFO at Telefonica O2 Germany. He was also a vocal advocate of the UPC combination.
“Andre Krause joined Sunrise in 2011 and has been instrumental in its transformation,” Sunrise said in its statement. “As CFO, he drove the company through its successful IPO in 2015, and the subsequent sale of its tower assets. Andre has deep telecom industry expertise.” (Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Himani Sarkar)