Cellhire CEO talks strategy

New Cellhire CEO and former Head of Global IoT Sales at Vodafone Tony Guerion wasted no time in leveraging his expertise to develop Cellhire’s value proposition and go-to-market approach in what he described as a ‘perfect match’ appointment.

Why did you take the role of Cellhire CEO?
With Cellhire’s ambition to become a key player in the IoT connectivity market, one of the decisive factors in accepting this role was the chance to leverage my expertise in the IoT industry and help propel Cellhire into a prominent position within this market. Cellhire has long-established partnerships with networks I have worked with during the course of my career, being an MVNO of Orange France and an ISP for Vodafone in the UK. I felt that my experience as Head of Global IoT Sales for Vodafone was a perfect match.

How will your prior experience come into play?
My experience has also provided me with insights into the operational, strategic and customer service aspects of the telecoms industry. This is important for navigating the complexities of the market and for fostering collaborations that improve service offerings and drive growth. The various roles I’ve held over the last 20 years have given me opportunities to gain experience across almost every part of the corporate world, from sales and marketing to product development and customer service. I will draw on all of this experience to help Cellhire realise its ambitious goals.

What are your first jobs to address?
Meeting the teams that are critical to Cellhire’s success and learning about the different business functions across our UK, US, French and Japanese offices. As global CEO I hold responsibility for the overall business strategy. And as we approach the end of our financial year I have been thoroughly examining our different strategies and their alignment with our primary goals. This examination has involved a detailed analysis of our performance metrics, understanding the market dynamics in each of our operational regions and assessing the effectiveness of our current strategies in promoting growth and sustaining a competitive edge. Alongside this I have been putting my experience in sales to good use and meeting some of Cellhire’s key customers.

What changes do you have in mind?
As a business with private equity backing, rapid, sustainable growth is an absolute must and it is my responsibility to ensure we are heading in the right direction to deliver this. Overall, my goal is to create a demand for our product set to help ensure that we can meet the growth ambitions of our shareholders – and channel partners. My attention is initially focused on our IoT offering and I am currently analysing everything from our proposition and sales approach to the partner portals. In the coming weeks and months I will personally scrutinise every customer touchpoint to gain insights into our current practices and identify areas for enhancement.

What are your immediate and longer-term priorities?
A primary focus lies in expanding our network of partnerships with channel partners in the UK. We’ve solidified our position as a key player in the indirect mobile sphere and the recent integration of the Three network into our portfolio signifies a significant leap forward. With this milestone achieved there’s no limit to our potential growth and impact. A second priority is to explore additional avenues for innovation and enhancement around our range of propositions, particularly within the mobile voice and data marketplace. Also, the evolution of eSIM technology holds immense promise. As the technology evolves and demand shifts the development of eSIM technology not only offers greater flexibility and convenience for users but also presents exciting opportunities. We need to be at the forefront of this.

Tell us more about Cellhire’s background
Cellhire has been in operation for over three decades and has played a key role in delivering seamless connectivity and communication solutions to high profile events such as the Tokyo and London Olympics, FIFA and rugby world cup finals and the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic games in France. However, our focus has shifted to delivering resilient mobile and IoT connectivity solutions which is where the company is moving to. Cellhire is the only ISP of Vodafone, O2, EE and Three, having recently onboarded Three in the last month. To support our IoT proposition, we have established relationships with Orange France powering our MVNO as well as Manx Telecom and BT. With almost 100 employees based across the UK, France, USA and Japan, we are well-positioned to deliver our global connectivity solutions.

Where do you see Cellhire in three years time?
As a leading innovator of connectivity offerings, especially in the field of IoT. Secondly, I would like Cellhire to have seen significant accelerated growth, delivering on the expectations of our shareholders. The markets we operate in are ripe for expansion and with our strong foundation and strategy in place we are poised to capitalise on emerging opportunities.

Your biggest career achievement?
The success that I delivered at Vodafone surrounding the launch of its IoT proposition and taking it to be a significant contributor of revenue. Another positive was seeing Vodafone IoT identified as the leading IoT connectivity player in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for 10 consecutive years, driven predominantly by the role of the sales team.

In hindsight...
I’d have moved into the role of CEO for a PE-backed business sooner. The opportunities this presents enables me to call back on over 20 years worth of experience, laying the groundwork for a promising future for Cellhire.

How can the comms industry change for the better?
Through the acceleration of the convergence of IoT, AI and edge computing. This integration holds immense potential to revolutionise how businesses operate by enabling real-time data processing and decision making at the edge of networks. By seamlessly combining IoT sensors’ data collection capabilities with the analytical power of AI algorithms businesses can gain deeper insights and drive more efficient processes. Leveraging edge computing also minimises latency issues and enhances data security which are critical factors for industries such as healthcare, manufacturing and transportation. By doing so, we can unlock unprecedented innovation and efficiency across various sectors, ultimately advancing the IT and communications industry to new heights and removing dependencies from the legacies in the telco industry.

What are the keys to leadership success?
The critical success factors fall into four categories: Ensuring that the service your business is offering is best-in-class. To deliver this, the second priority is to nurture your relationship with the suppliers that are critical to your business. Thirdly, make sure your business is simple to work with. This involves streamlining processes, communication channels and customer interactions to minimise friction and maximise efficiency. And it’s important to make sure that you have the right people in your organisation to achieve business objectives.

Investing in recruitment, training and talent development is essential for building a high performing team capable of driving success and adapting to the changing needs of the business environment. Moreover, creating a supportive and inclusive work atmosphere promotes employee retention and loyalty which further strengthens the foundation for long-term growth.

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