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Monday 23 January 2017

Rex Comb

ROISIN BURKE

Published 19/02/2012 | 05:00

When he came on board to run Eircom, Rex Comb opted to invest a hefty stake of his own money in the beleaguered telco to show commitment to its future. Hmm.

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From Melbourne, Australia, Comb left school at 14 and worked in a dairy, though he would go back to school and college later in life.

He managed toymaker Mattel's Australian business and led a logistics firm before moving to Babcock & Brown Capital as chief executive.

Babcock & Brown shelled out €2.36bn for a controlling chunk of Eircom in 2006 and installed Comb as CEO.

He proceeded to pick his way through a minefield of industrial relations clashes, network break-up issues, wrangles about the future shape of the business, a legacy of reputational problems, broadband and other infrastructure failings. Then there was the fact that Eircom was one of the most debt-heavy telcos in the world.

Comb didn't duck the issues, even appearing on a memorable Prime Time programme where he was taken to task for the firm's woeful customer service.

Along with Frenchman Pierre Danon, who was chairman, Comb committed to invest around €1m of his own money in Eircom. However, he left in early 2009.

He now heads listed Ausie engineering and construction company Thomas & Coffey, a big player in mining.

Eircom is thought to be close to filing for creditor protection while it strives to reorganise its €3.75bn debt and find its seventh buyer in just over a decade.

Sunday Indo Business

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