New CEO for Digicel in Haiti

AP News
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Posted: Jan 25, 2012 7:03 PM
New CEO for Digicel in Haiti

Haiti's biggest employer has named a new chief executive to run Digicel, the mobile phone company announced Wednesday.

The Jamaica-based private company is bringing in Damian Blackburn to replace Maarten Boute, who will be leaving in March to spend more time with his family, Digicel spokeswoman Antonia Graham said.

Boute added in an email message that he was going "to do a deep recharge of (his) batteries" as he and his wife await the birth of their second child.

The new head, Blackburn, recently CEO for Digicel Honduras, has more than 14 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. He will oversee operations for the company's largest market, Haiti, which accounts for about a quarter of its 11.1 million subscribers.

Digicel, whose Irish CEO Denis O'Brien promoted development in Haiti before the 2010 quake, has invested $600 million in the impoverished Caribbean nation since it began work in 2006. The company's foundation has also done charitable work such as building schools and helping with other infrastructure projects.

In recent months, the company erected street signs in the capital and road signs in the countryside and last year spent $18 million to renovate the historic Iron Market damaged in the quake.

In November, Digicel and Marriott International announced plans to build a $45 million, 173-room hotel in Port-au-Prince. The hotel is slated to open in 2014.

Digicel's competitors include Voila and Natcom, a joint venture created last year between Vietnam's Viettel and the Haitian government to replace the state-run Teleco.