Vocus CEO Geoff Horth is going and its shares are rallying

Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

CEO Geoff Horth is leaving Vocus by “mutual agreement”.

Horth has headed the telco since February 2016, when the merger between Vocus Communications and M2 Group was completed. He had served as M2 Group CEO for nearly five years.

In early trade, Vocus shares were up 4.2% to $2.47.

The owner of Dodo, iPrimus and Orcon also revised down its earnings guidance, its second downgrade in 12 months.

Today, the company says underlying full 2018 year EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation) is now expected to be in the range of $365 million to $380 million (previously $370 million to $390 million) on revenue in the range of $1.9 billion to $2 billion, unchanged on prior forecasts.

The board of directors and Horth have been working on CEO succession since earlier this year as part of the company’s renewal program at both board and executive levels.

Vocus Group Chairman, Vaughan Bowen, said: “Geoff has served as Vocus CEO during undoubtedly the most challenging chapter in its journey to date, wrestling with the simultaneous tasks of integrating several large, complex businesses, combining different corporate cultures and while the Australian telco sector was under substantial structural upheaval, in light of the roll-out of the NBN & the exponential growth in demand for data networks.”

The role of Interim Group CEO will be assumed by Michael Simmons, Vocus’ current Chief Executive of its Wholesale & International Division.

He was the founding CEO at SP Telemedia, now TPG Telecom.

Vocus last week posted a 21% fall in half year net profit to $37.3 million. Revenue was up 9% to $967.3 million.