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Jobs Cut at Virgin Mobile, but CFO Stays

Wireless provider eliminates 10 percent of its positions, but reconfirms that John Feehan's decision to leave has been reversed.
Stephen TaubNovember 18, 2008

Wireless provider Virgin Mobile USA Inc. is eliminating 45 positions — about 10 percent of its work force — but reconfirmed that its CFO is still on board.

The reconfirmation was necessary because John Feehan, its finance chief since 2006, two months ago had said that he was leaving in mid-November to relocate to the Phoenix area and become CFO of LifeLock, a company engaged in identity theft protection. On Friday, however, Feehan had said that he would stay on at Virgin Mobile instead.

“It wasn’t an easy decision to leave — and it became harder and harder as the day approached,” he said on Friday. “I have truly enjoyed all of the challenges and opportunities the job has presented to me from the very beginning. As I said on the earnings call last week, this is a great, dynamic company, one that I believe in and, ultimately, one that I believe has strong growth ahead of it.”

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“As we were looking for a new financial officer over the last two months, we wanted someone with John’s intelligence, sensibilities and understanding of our unique positioning — and frankly, that was difficult to match,” said CEO Dan Schulman. “His decision to stay is a testament to both his passion for the company, and the exciting moment in which we find ourselves, with tremendous opportunity to move ahead and succeed in so many areas.”

In subsequently announcing the elimination of about 45 positions in its New Jersey and California offices this week, Schulman said that the company had identified continued synergies associated with the transition of IT services to IBM, and Virgin’s acquisition of Helio, completed in late August. Helio is a joint venture between SK Telecom and EarthLink Inc.

At the time of the acquisition, Virgin said that Helio complemented its strengths through its specialization in highly advanced postpaid products and services.

Feehan joined Virgin Mobile USA in 2001 as among its first employees, and was named CFO in 2006, after nearly five years as vice president of financial operations.

When Virgin announced Feehan’s departure in September, Schulman said that Feehan had been instrumental in helping to set the business and financial course that led Virgin Mobile to over $1 billion in annual revenues in less than three years. “From the moment John joined Virgin Mobile USA, he demonstrated the ability to lend strategic guidance and insight to all aspects of our growing business,” said Schulman.

Prior to joining Virgin Mobile USA, Feehan — who previously was at PricewaterhouseCoopers — served as CFO for SAGE BioPharma Inc., a pharmaceutical and medical device company specializing in iInfertility and women’s health.

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