Liberty Global’s Manuel Kohnstamm and Vodafone’s Joakim Reiter will be GIGAEurope co-chairs
Brussels, 21 April 2020 – Irina Varlan has been appointed as Managing Director of GIGAEurope, the new industry organisation that brings together private operators who build, operate and invest in the gigabit communications networks that enable Europe’s digital connectivity.
GIGAEurope’s members provide reliable and secure gigabit-speed connections to customers across Europe, offering world-class products and services, including converged fixed and mobile communications. Through the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the essential nature of these services for the functioning of societies has become ever more apparent.
As providers of such critical services, GIGAEurope’s members are all working to keep their respective countries connected despite huge increases in traffic load. They offer key services to governments as important parts of their response to the crisis, as well as reliable connections to families, friends, hospitals, businesses, schools and universities.
Irina Varlan is an experienced corporate executive who has worked in multinational companies for more than 20 years. Before joining GIGAEurope, she served as General Counsel, Public Policy and Regulatory Director of UPC Romania, Liberty Global.
Irina has also held a number of senior management positions in leading international telecommunications companies, including DHT Television, Telekom Romania and the American company Metromedia International.
A graduate of the Bucharest Faculty of Law, Irina is also a legal practitioner, an attorney-at-law member of the Bucharest Bar, having worked in the private legal practice at the associated law firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers Romania.
She will lead the association as it promotes the industry’s interests, and in the longer term becomes an umbrella organization for a broad section of the connectivity industry.
Irina Varlan said: “Communications operators are playing a key role in keeping families and friends connected while they are required to stay apart during the COVID-19 crisis – enabling people across Europe to stay in touch, work from home, run their businesses, continue their education and stay informed and entertained.”
“I’m very proud to become the Managing Director of GIGAEurope, whose members will continue to play an integral role in helping manage and shape business, technological and society both during the crisis and as we recover from it. I look forward to championing Europe’s connectivity providers as the digital sector remains critically important across the continent.”
GIGAEurope also announced that its co-chairs will be Manuel Kohnstamm, Senior Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer for Liberty Global, and Joakim Reiter, Group External Affairs Director for Vodafone Group.
Commenting on the appointment of Irina Varlan, Manuel Kohnstamm said: “Irina is an ideal appointment to lead the new GIGAEurope. She brings with her a wealth of industry experience – her knowledge, leadership skills and business instinct will ensure that the organisation and its members are well represented, which will benefit millions of customers throughout Europe.”
Joakim Reiter said: “The team leading GIGAEurope will be at the forefront of Europe’s connectivity revolution, and we’re delighted to have Irina leading the way. Her time working for some of the world’s telecommunications companies means she is perfectly suited to the role of Managing Director and we are excited to work closely with her.”
GIGAEurope supports a strong and harmonised European Digital Single Market, with a clear focus on enabling regulatory and market conditions that allow for investment, innovation and sustainable competition in Gigabit infrastructure and the Internet of Things.
GIGAEurope members serve around 40 million fixed broadband customers and 130 million mobile customers spanning across Europe. Its founding members include most of the current Cable Europe membership and companies dedicated to providing customers with reliable and secure gigabit-speed end-to-end connectivity. They contain leading converged broadband and communications companies like Liberty Global, Vodafone and Telenet.
 Data provided by OMDIA