has appointed Marc Lefar Chief Executive Officer of Vonage
. Lefar replaces Interim CEO Jeffrey Citron, who had assumed the additional role in April of 2007. Citron will assume the role of non-executive Chairman of the Board and serve as a consultant on long-term strategy.
"I believe there is no better person than Marc to lead Vonage at this time. He possesses a wealth of telecom experience and a strong mix of strategy, finance and operating skills. His marketing expertise is second to none," said Citron. "The Board believes he will bring a fresh perspective to addressing the opportunities and challenges ahead and will help the Company to realize future growth and profitability."
"Jeffrey and the talented Vonage team have helped to change the way people think about communication," said Lefar, commenting on his appointment. "Moving forward, we will continue to improve the customer experience from end to end. A friendly user experience combined with meaningful, intuitive features will accelerate growth and improve loyalty."
For more than four years, Lefar served as Chief Marketing Officer of Cingular Wireless, (now AT&T Mobility). During his tenure, the company's customer base more than tripled and subscriber churn declined by nearly 50%. He played a critical role in the successful integration of AT&T Wireless, launched the award-winning "Raising the Bar" advertising campaign and drove product initiatives that yielded several billion dollars in new revenues. After leaving Cingular, Lefar founded Marketing Insights, a technology and media consultancy.
Prior to joining Cingular, Lefar was Executive Vice President, Marketing and Value-Added Services at Cable & Wireless Global. He also held senior leadership roles at Verizon Wireless and GTE Wireless. Lefar started his career at Procter & Gamble.
Vonage also announced last week that it entered into a commitment letter to raise up to $215 million in a private debt refinancing. The company will use those proceeds along with some cash on hand to repay its existing debt which could come due on December 16, 2008.
"We believe this arrangement will eliminate much of the uncertainty surrounding our financial prospects and demonstrates our commitment to enhancing the long-term value of our business," said Jeffrey Citron.
Vonage this week also unveiled its Vonage Pro bundled service targeted to digital-savvy customers referred to as prosumers -- short for professional consumers. Vonage Pro will allow users to stay connected whether using their main phone or via their PC using Vonage's SoftPhone client, called Vonage Companion. Among other features, Vonage Pro includes 25 Vonage Visual Voicemail messages -- transcriptions of voicemails sent to a user's email or cell phone.
"By combining the much-talked-about Vonage Companion with a user's home phone, Vonage is empowering customers to connect in a personal way, without boundaries," said Lefar.