Digicel chief executive confirms resignation

By Vatapuia Maiava 14 December 2016, 12:00AM

The Chief Executive Officer of Digicel Samoa, Rory Condon, is leaving the company. He confirmed his resignation yesterday.

“I will be leaving Digicel but we have not yet formerly announced my successor,” he told the Samoa Observer. “I am happy to say that that appointment will be made in January; but yes it’s true, after four years in Samoa, we have decided to move on as a family."

“You know, I wanted to see it through to our Digicel team’s milestone of our tenth birthday in Samoa before I left on our next adventure.”

Mr. Condon joined the bigger, better network four years ago from Digicel Tonga. He was named C.E.O. after former Chief Executive Officer, Pepe Fiaailetoa Fruean moved to a new role in the Digi family.

Looking back, Mr. Condon described his time in Samoa as both exciting and rewarding. He spent a lot of time learning from Pepe.

 “Our family was brand new to the Pacific so it was very exciting and culturally very different from home,” he said. 

“Things were a little different then.  Not too many people had smart phones.  We were in our old offices at Vaimea, which were badly damaged in the Cyclone.

“So we moved to the S.N.P.F. where we are now – while that time was a tough time, the move re-invigorated the team. It wasn’t until early 2015 that I took up the C.E.O. role, having learnt so much from Pepe.”

Asked what one word he would describe his journey with Digicel Samoa, Mr. Condon said “rewarding.”

“What makes me the happiest is that we are in a very privileged position in Digicel to do our little bit and to help to change lives for the better,” he said.

“We are always looking at new worthy causes to get behind and drive awareness. Working with Digicel is a unique and fairly incredible experience; it’s so fast moving and very exciting.

“It tests us every day and it’s a huge learning experience, so it has easily been a rewarding and the best job I have ever had and we constantly challenge ourselves at Digicel.”

Asked what he will be taking back with him after four years in the country, Mr. Condon says the unique Samoan culture.

“If I look back on my four years in Samoa, it’s probably the strength of the culture and tradition here in Samoa,” he said. “Samoa is unique and it does continue to move forward and at the same time, it takes care of its tradition and that’s what makes it unique.

“So I feel that the future is very bright for Samoa with the new submarine cable coming next year, it’s a real game changer for Samoa. Samoa has all the building blocks here to succeed.”

And with Digicel achieving a few great feats during his four years, he recalls many personal highlights with his Digi-Family.

“I suppose since the early days, Digicel has been known for being a fast moving company which tries to improve and adapts,” Mr. Condon began. “We started off as a mobile phone company and over the years we started to provide home and business internet services, business solutions, mobile money and most recently, we’ve just started to offer satellite TV and we are not stopping there.

“In terms of highlights, looking back there are many highlights, almost too many to remember, but there are a few that stick out in my mind.

“The most significant of course will be around the L.T.E. launch and the tie-up with Joseph Parker which was great fun. What I remember was how hard our team worked to deliver a really great launch that captured the imagination of everybody and delivered a customer experience and really proved that we in Samoa right here can deliver really high speed services on par with other developed nations.

“So that was very exciting to have Joseph on board with that, it was great fun. Other highlights I would probably have to say, we are very proud of our medical outreach programmes; they are very special to us.

“The U.N. S.I.D.S. forum was a really great moment for Samoa because it showed that Samoa can have the capacity to host these types of very important events and it was particularly great for Digicel to be heavily involved in sponsoring and providing the world class services.

“Recently we had the Toa Samoa vs. Fiji Bati game which was in Apia, we not only sponsored it but we put together a live broadcast right across the Pacific and that was particularly exciting moment because it was an example of what we can now achieve.

“When we think very big then we are able to put on these types of broadcasting events.”

And let’s not forget the catchy ‘We are family’ Christmas campaign last year. Mr. Condon says that the key to all that has been achieved with Digicel lies with the Digi-Family’s teamwork.

“A fond memory of last year was the ‘We are family’ Christmas campaign and how it captured everyone’s imagination with the song,” Mr. Condon recalled.

“All the highlights have one thing in common and that is they were all driven by an incredibly hard working team who are very passionate Digicel family.

“We have that teamwork which you will only find at Digicel and at the same time we have some great fun.”

According to Mr. Condon, another significant part of his journey was the interrelationship between telecommunication and Samoa culture and community.

“You know we try to give the people of Samoa what they love,” he said. “And that could mean service and technology that can help people connect with their loved ones but for me, with the community projects, what matters to me is that Digicel operates well within the fa’asamoa and that we give back.

“We try to do overwhelmingly for those who support us and we try to give back to the people; that’s what matters most to us.

“It’s been great to help our friends from the Special Olympics and the S.V.S.G, I think that they are the real achievers and givers in the great work that they do.

“It’s great that we can help and you know we like to promote sports and healthy living and that why we get behind boxing and rugby, and it was great having Joseph as our brand ambassador.

“He is a great role model that the Samoan kids can look up to; the idea is that they can train big and at the same time we are passionate about education.

“Whether it’s about scholarships or whether it’s about teaching our kids how to code through our coderdojo program; what matters most is to know that education is key.

“In next year coderdojo program, we have Savaii added to the list and in the near future we will see a lot of Samoan kids knowing how to code and that is the future.”

And as a final message to his Digi-Family, Mr. Condon says to continue what they do best.

“The Staff in Digicel are incredible,” he said. “We have got some of the most talented people in the country and I want to thank them for their passion and loyalty.

“While they work so hard keeping the network going, their kids and families are missing them. I want to say a special thank to the staff and their families because without their support, we wouldn’t be the kind of successful business that we are.

“So to the staff, continue with the great sense Digi-Family, the great team work, continue with your passion and put our customers at the heart of what you do.”

But where to from here for Mr. Condon?

“In the New Year we will be moving to Australia where I will take up a new role,” he said.

“But not before I take a nice long break. I can’t confirm what is next because I am not in the position to announce it yet but I am certainly excited for what’s next.

“We are certainly looking forward to the next adventure for the family. Right now I am looking forward to going home to Ireland for Christmas because it’s been a very long time since my children have seen their granny.

“It will be a chilly Irish Christmas by the fire and it will be a very long rest. It’s going to be very hard to say goodbye and the kids have spent more than half of their lives here. Samoa right now is their home and it will be sad to leave.”

By Vatapuia Maiava 14 December 2016, 12:00AM

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