Vivendi hires Telefônica’s Amos Genish

Alan Burkitt-Gray
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GVT founder Amos Genish joins Vivendi as head of convergence after leaving Telefônica Brazil in 2016

French media group Vivendi – a major shareholder in Telecom Italia – has appointed the former CEO of Telefônica Brasil to a senior position.

Amos Genish, who integrated Telefônica Brasil’s mobile business Vivo with its cable TV and fixed network operator GVT, will be Vivendi’s chief convergence officer, overseeing the group’s convergence strategy between content, platforms and distribution.

He will be based in Paris – where Vivendi is based – and London, said Vivendi in a statement. In November 2016 Vivendi increased its shareholding in Telecom Italia to 23%. It is the largest single shareholder in Telecom Italia and has long been seen as a potential buyer of the whole group.

It is a return to the Vivendi group for Genish, as he was CEO of GVT before Vivendi sold it to Telefónica and continued to lead the combined Brazilian business during the integration process.

Genish co-founded GVT as an alternative regional telecoms operator in 1999 and led its expansion in the following years. He led its share flotation in Brazil in 2007 and then its sale to Vivendi in 2009 for $4.8 billion, and then its purchase by Telefónica in 2014 for $9 billion – by which time annual sales were running at $2 billion.

According to a Reuters’ report in October 2016, Genish attained bigger-than-expected cost savings stemming from Telefônica Brasil’s purchase of GVT. Telefônica Brasil became the country’s most profitable carrier in spite of a recession not seen in more than eight decades.

His departure from Telefónica came as a surprise in October, when commentators cited “personal reasons”. At the time Brazilian media, quoted by Reuters, thought he might be going to Telefónica’s O2 UK.

At Telefônica Brasil he has been replaced by the company’s chief commercial digital officer, Eduardo Navarro de Carvalho, a former McKinsey consultant.