Exa Infrastructure appoints former Vodafone boss Nick Read as chairman

nick read

Former Group Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone Nick Read will join digital infrastructure firm Exa Infrastructure as it eyes an expansion of its global network.

London based Exa Infrastructure describes itself as ‘the largest dedicated digital infrastructure platform connecting Europe and North America’. It owns 125,000 kilometres of fibre network across 34 countries and sub-sea routes that include three transatlantic cables, all of which it says connect 300 cities.

Private equity outfit I Squared Capital acquired the European, subsea and North American network infrastructure and data centre assets owned by GTT in September 2021 and formed Exa Infrastructure as a new entity, and it has been very busy with deployment and acquisition deals since. Read, who most recently was at the helm of UK operator Vodafone, has been drafted in to oversee these efforts.

“Nick is a titan in our industry and I am convinced that his extensive leadership and technology experience will be invaluable to execute our ambitious growth strategy,” said EXA Infrastructure, Chief Executive Officer, Martijn Blanken. “His track record in business performance and transformation will be a welcome addition to guide EXA’s executive team. I am delighted to see Nick join us and I look forward to working closely with him.”

Read added: “It is a privilege to be appointed Chair of EXA Infrastructure, particularly at a pivotal time for the telecoms industry where we are seeing significant investment in digital infrastructure and market growth. I look forward to working with the EXA leadership team who have a clear focus and commitment to customers, network excellence and continual investment to provide the most compelling experiences to clients and end users.”

Earlier this month it acquired Unitel, an infrastructure services operation in Croatia, which it said was part of its plan to expand across the ‘rapidly growing yet underinvested Balkan region.’

Blanken said of the deal: “The Unitel acquisition is the latest initiative in EXA’s continued commitment to providing its customers with innovative, reliable and diverse connectivity solutions available on the market. Unitel boasts state of the art fibre and has a strong track record of being a reliable partner to some of the world’s largest companies aligns with EXA’s mission and values. I am delighted to welcome Unitel and its team to the EXA family.”

Unitel’s network consists of 515km of duct and owned fibre optic cable extending from Zagreb in the north to Ilok in the east, which covers two border crossings to Serbia and one to Bosnia and Herzegovina. We’re told most of the duct is adjacent to the Adria oil pipeline, which apparently increases reliability and lowers disturbance rates.

This year it also signed an MoU which will allow for the expansion of its fibre infrastructure to Digital Realty’s data centres across the Mediterranean region, following deployments in the firm’s sites in Dublin, Paris and Zagreb.

It also recently landed a deal with Cinturion to land one of its dual path connections of the TEAS in Pescara, on Italy’s Adriatic coast – which includes two separate open access sub-sea and terrestrial links cross the Middle Eastern region, one via the Red Sea, and the other via Jordan, continuing along the Arabian Peninsula and under the Arab Gulf and Indian Ocean. The point of the project is apparently to improve connectivity between India, the Middle East and Europe.

In fact it seems to have announced some sort of deal, acquisition or deployment at a very rapid pace since it’s emergence – presumably it will now be Read’s task to oversee even more.


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