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The Euro50 Q&A: Duco Sickinghe, Telenet

Last year was a particularly busy one for Belgian cable operator Telenet’s CEO Duco Sickinghe. It saw the expansion of high-speed internet access, the bolstering of the Yelo TV anywhere service launched last year, the acquisition of mobile spectrum and the entry of the company as a competitor to Belgacom in acquiring and airing premium football rights.

Age 53

Education Master in Law, University of Utrecht; Master Business Administration.

Previous positions 1985: Hewlett-Packard, starting in finance department, several functions in marketing department; 1991: NeXT – vice-president, marketing Europe, later CEO NeXT France; 1993: founder and CEO, Software Direct; 1996: CEO, Kluwer Publishing Nederland; 2001: CEO, Telenet.

Last year’s highlights Internet is getting faster and faster with Fibernet access for everyone. Telenet enriched Yelo, a new multimedia platform enabling digital TV customers to watch their favorite shows and movies on iPad, iPhone, computers and other smartphones. The company has been admitted to both the Dow Jones Sustainability Europe Index and the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. Telenet is the only Belgian company and the only cable operator in these renowned indices. The company acquired the rights to broadcast the best Belgian Football matches and launched its new Sporting Telenet channels. It also acquired 3G and 2G spectrum, strengthening its challenger position in mobile.

Most significant industry development TV is no longer tied to a single appliance; it is now watched on mobile devices too and via the internet. Telephony is increasingly shifting in the direction of smartphones.

Goals for 2012 Telenet’s goals for 2012 are to continue its tried and tested growth strategy, which has driven its past successes. The sustained migration of customers subscribed remains the main value driver. Telenet believes that its product leadership in broadband internet and digital TV, combined with its constant focus on customer service and loyalty, has laid the foundations for another year of strong operational and financial growth.

Industry challenges and opportunities How the television business can balance between local and international content. How second screen application will determine television behavior.  How business models of commercial television will be influenced by new technology.

Alternative career choice I enjoy working in the telecom sector. If I ever leave this business I would like to go into politics. I would like to simplify the complex matters for the general public.

TV character most identified with Tintin, who is adventurous, authentic and likes to take risks.

Most admired personality Steve Jobs. I admire his passion for user-friendly products. He was a businessman, entrepreneur and an inventor. He was an influencer of the whole world. He brought digital technology to the people.

Life outside work Spending time with my family and walking with my dogs in the forest.

Tags: Telenet

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