Pacnet (news) wasted no time finding a new CEO to replace Bill Barney, who was sent unceremoniously packing six weeks ago in a surprise move by the company’s board of directors. Today the company announced they are bringing in a ringer with a familiar face: Carl Grivner, who headed up XO until last Autumn of course.
Grivner will be based in Singapore, from which he will direct Pacnet’s regional bandwidth, CDN, and data center operations. He will take over from CFO Brett Lay, who had temporarily taken the reins during the search. It should be very interesting to see what Grivner does without Carl Icahn breathing over his shoulder.
The personality shift will be dramatic, as Barney was one of the more colorful and outspoken CEOs in the region, while Grivner’s style has always seemed more cautious. But then, with XO behind him perhaps that will shift somewhat too. More important though will be what he does with the assets: will he give Pacnet’s business an aggressive or defensive stance?
Pacnet was said to be negotiating a sale to Indonesia’s PT Telkom, but the deal fell apart completely last month. The company’s private equity owners are clearly ready for an exit, but the markets are not currently very receptive to submarine cable assets (Reliance is still struggling to push that Flag IPO through even with a high yield) and they haven’t managed to find a buyer willing to meet their price. I’m sure they’ll keep trying but the next phase will involve where Grivner decides to take the company operationally.
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