The Chief Executive Officer of Bluesky, Aoe’e Adolfo Montenegro, has been sacked by Blueksy’s parent company, Amper.
The decision was confirmed in a statement released by Bluesky yesterday.
“Bluesky’s Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.) Aoe’e Adolfo Montenegro and Bluesky’s parent company Amper SA have decided to conclude their management agreement effective on Friday last week,” the statement reads.
“Mr. Jaime Espinosa the Chairman of Bluesky’s parent company Amper now assumes the role of Group C.E.O. of Bluesky Pacific Group.”
The statement did not give the reasons behind the decision.
The Samoa Observer understands that Aoe’e is in Samoa but he could not be contacted for a comment yesterday.
The news comes as Amper works to finalise the sale of its South Pacific business to a Fiji government-backed company, Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (A.T.H.).
“Bluesky expresses its sincerest gratitude to Montenegro for his contributions to the Bluesky Pacific Group, to its staff and to the Pacific communities that it serves,” the statement from Bluesky continues.
“Montenegro has been the C.E.O. of Bluesky since 2008 and he has led the company’s significant regional expansion across the Pacific where it now operates in Samoa, American Samoa, the Cook Islands and New Zealand.”
The decision to let go of Aoe’e has raised eyebrows, especially in American Samoa.
According to Talanei News Agency, the sacking occurred only a week after Espinosa and representatives of A.T.H. met with representatives of the American Samoa Governor’s office and the management of Bluesky.
During both meetings Espinosa and A.T.H. reportedly assured American Samoans of their intent to keep Bluesky’s current management team.
Amper and A.T.H. officials told locals the sale of Bluesky to A.T.H. was in the best interest of Bluesky’s employees and the residents of American Samoa and that A.T.H. is committed to protecting the jobs of Bluesky’s employees.
But on Saturday morning, Bluesky managers woke up to find an email from Amper’s president, Jaime Espinosa.
Espinosa wrote that Aoe’e had been terminated and that he will be assuming executive responsibilities for Bluesky for the time being.
Bluesky managers contacted by K.H.J. News said they did not want their names used in this story, but were extremely upset when they received the email from Mr. Espinosa.
A meeting with about 30 of Bluesky’s managers and senior staff in American Samoa was held on Saturday, the meeting began at 5pm and lasted into the early morning hours of Sunday.
Asked for his reaction to Aoe’e’s termination by Amper, former Bluesky president Barry Rose said it was “awful but not a surprise” given Amper’s history.
Mr. Rose himself is currently suing Amper in Spain for failing to pay Rose and his family for Bluesky stock the Roses sold to Amper in 2013.
Mr. Rose said Montenegro, who holds the title Aoe’e, conferred upon him by the late P.C. Tufele Li’a, is highly regarded within Bluesky offices and throughout the Pacific region.
He said persons he has spoken to worry that Montenegro’s forced departure will damage Bluesky and A.S.H. cable, which is 1/3 owned by A.S.G.
“This is especially true since Amper C.E.O. Jaime Espinosa has appointed himself to run Bluesky for the time being, despite a lack of relevant experience in the telecom business and a lack of familiarity with Bluesky markets and operations in American Samoa, Samoa, the Cook Islands or New Zealand.”
According to Mr. Rose, when Montenegro took over as C.E.O. eight years ago, before Amper acquired Bluesky, Bluesky operated only in American Samoa, with 45 employees and had a value of less than 20 million dollars.
Today, the company has over 400 employees in four countries and Amper is selling its 61% stake in Bluesky to A.T.H., which is indirectly controlled and backed by the Government of Fiji, for $79 million dollars.