THE ART LOVER’S RISE AND FALL

 
Elizabeth Fournier
As well as roles as a director of Merville Limited and chairman of Essensys, John Pluthero is also an enthusiastic collector of abstract art. Last year he founded AbstractCritical, an online forum that organises exhibitions and discussions around the subject. Background: Baroquey, 2009 - Anne Smart

SINCE first coming to the City’s attention as an ambitious executive at Dixon’s Group during the dotcom boom, abstract art connoisseur John Pluthero has remained at the top of some of the UK’s biggest telecoms companies for the past two decades. We take a look at the bumpy route that led to his departure from CWW.

1990s - After training as an accountant, Pluthero spent time at P&O and Holiday Inn Worldwide before joining Dixons, where he rose through the ranks to become managing director of Mastercare at the company

1999 - Founded Freeserve, a free internet service provider launched by Dixons. As chief executive, Pluthero took Freeserve public in the summer of 1999 in Britain’s first significant dotcom start-up float

2000 - Freeserve briefly joins the FTSE100, but after its shares drop from a 921p high in February to 166p by September it is bought by Wanadoo and merged into the group.

July 2002 - Becomes chief executive of struggling telecoms company Energis a week after joining as chairman. Pluthero was bought in as part of a rescue bid after Energis was de-listed and bought out by its bankers.

August 2005 - Cable & Wireless bids £594m for Energis. Pluthero becomes chief executive of C&W’s UK operations after incumbent CEO Francesco Caio is pushed out

November 2009 - As C&W announces plans to demerge its business groups, details of the firm’s long-term incentive plan emerge, under which Pluthero received a £10.2m bonus.

26 March 2010 - The demerger goes through splitting the company into Cable & Wireless Comms and Cable & Wireless Worldwide, of which Pluthero becomes chairman.

June 2011 - Pluthero is reappointed to the chief executive role after the departure of John Marsh, who had delivered three profit warnings in just over a year.

15 November 2011 - Pluthero steps down as CWW reports a half-year loss of £443m. Shares lose more of a quarter of their value in one day, having fallen from 69p at the start of the year to 22p at yesterday’s close.