Business Irish

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Digicel's CEO passes away suddenly at 47 in native Germany

Alex Matuschka von Greiffenclau
Alex Matuschka von Greiffenclau
Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

The group chief executive of Digicel, Alex Matuschka von Greiffenclau (47), has died suddenly while on holiday with his family in Germany.

Businessman Denis O'Brien, the company's owner and chairman, will take up the role of interim ceo pending a formal succession process to replace Mr Matuschka von Greiffenclau, pictured, who died suddenly last Thursday.

Mr Matuschka von Greiffenclau, who only took over as chief executive last February, joined Digicel from Dutch-based telco Veon, previously known as Vimpelcom.

The German businessman, who replaced Colm Delves as Digicel chief executive, had served as chief performance officer for Veon.

Mr O'Brien praised "the enormous contribution to the transformation of Digicel," by Mr Matuschka von Greiffenclau, a married father of three who had just recently celebrated his 47th birthday.

"It is with a heavy heart and much sadness that I share news of the untimely death of our Group ceo, Alex Matuschka von Greiffenclau," said Mr O'Brien.

"No words can adequately express our sadness at Alex's passing or our gratitude for having worked with him. Digicel has lost a committed, hard-working and exceptional chief executive.

"Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know him on a personal level have lost a dear friend."

This month Digicel won bondholder acceptance for the second element of its offer to swap debt falling due in 2020 and 2022 for longer dated facilities.

It follows months of negotiations. Taken together, the exchanges allow the Jamaica-headquartered telecommunications group to push out repayments on a total of $3bn (€2.59bn) of outstanding debt.

Mr O'Brien said that over the coming days, colleagues will share their thoughts for a suitable commemoration of Mr Matuschka von Greiffenclau.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Julia and his three children at this very difficult time. May he rest in peace," said Mr O'Brien.

"Given the circumstances, I will be taking up the position of Group CEO on an interim basis. I will be in Jamaica on 2nd January."

Irish Independent

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