Potter leaves Esprit Telecom to set up new business People on the Move

Financial Times ; JAN.27, 1999


Michael Potter, one of the founders of Esprit Telecom, the fast-growing European telecommunications company acquired last month by GTS of the US, is leaving to establish a high-technology venture capital firm.

Potter, who remains president and vice-chairman until the end of February, helped found Esprit in 1991, realising that there would be rich rewards for operators agile enough to take advantage of Europe's soon to be liberalised telecoms markets.

Esprit was set up in the UK where liberalisation preceded the rest of Europe by several years. The company now has sales offices and points of presence in more than 30 European cities and is building a 9,000km fibre optic network using the most advanced networking and transmission technologies.

Potter, mild mannered by nature, is nevertheless well known for trenchant attacks on the behaviour of incumbent operators who, he believed, were prepared to bend and break competition rules to delay and disadvantage newcomers. Achieving a level playing field in Europe has been one of his principal ambitions. He now intends to form an investment group, Paradigm Ventures, to focus on European high technology projects. Alan Cane

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