‘Watch this horizon – there’s more to come’ says UPC boss
New chief executive Magnus Ternsjö says the company may add mobile services and wifi hotspots to its range of services
Magnus Ternsjö: “I’m a firm believer that UPC is assisting Ireland Inc in its goals of making Ireland more digital. We are helping the country in becoming more competitive in the future.” Photograph: Aidan Crawley
When a new chief executive takes over at a company, you expect a bit of a shake up as they make their mark. But UPC Ireland’s new boss Magnus Ternsjö says there was little need to start making waves at what he describes as a well-run firm.
A veteran of the business, Ternsjö stepped into the role after outgoing CEO Dana Strong moved to Virgin media to become the firm’s chief operating officer.
Ternsjö has been involved in the sector for more than 20 years – a fact he describes as “horrifying”, saying the years have gone by too quickly.
Previously managing director of Liberty Global’s central European Direct to Home (DTH) satellite television business, he has held numerous roles in UPC’s parent company.
He took up his new role just ahead of the launch of the new Horizon TV service here, and immediately threw himself into learning about all aspects of the Irish business.
That included going out with UPC technicians to perform installations in homes around Dublin.
“I’ve been down in the customer care facility, I’ve been out in the vans. I’ve been listening to our customers, what’s been going on,” he says.
“I didn’t say who I was when I went into those houses, I presented myself as a new person in UPC and wanted to see how things were working.
“It was very rewarding, an excellent learning curve for myself and a great chance to find out what consumers like and dislike.”
That approach is typical of how he works, Ternsjö says.
“I’m very down to earth, I like to understand how things go at a very grassroots level. Because how can people expect me to make sensible decisions if I don’t really know what’s going on?
“If you ask my team members how they see me, I think they see me as very tall,” he says – and, at around 6ft 7, that’s probably true.
“I think they see me as outspoken and straightforward, engaging, energetic, positive, see the opportunities and the solutions in things.”
Looking at the business from all aspects has been “tremendously rewarding”, he says. “You get a closer relationship with the staff, and the staff’s the most valuable asset we have.
“I believe if I can emotionally connect with our staff, they’ll perform better, and if I can bring some of my enthusiasm across to every person, not just to the ones I work with every day, we’re going to succeed and be much better.
“The other is that I, ultimately, want our staff to emotionally connect with our end consumers. For me to understand if we actually achieve that objective, I need to listen in to conversations.”
That customer care team is being put through its paces at the moment following the launch of the new TV platform here, and the associated increase in calls that inevitably come for UPC as customers seek to change over and need help in installing the box.