The transformation of Wayra continues. Novobrief has learned that Simon Devonshire, who had been Wayra’s Europe Director for more than three years, is stepping down from his position and moving to greener pastures. A spokesperson at Telefonica confirmed the news.
Simon, who before joining Wayra had founded various startups, was hired by Telefonica in January of 2012, a little over a year after the accelerator program was launched by Jose Maria Alvarez Pallete, Carlos Domingo and Gonzalo Martín Villa. From now on, he will continue to focus on his entrepreneurial efforts.
Since July of 2014 Simon also serves as an ‘entrepreneur-in-residence’ for the UK government and its Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
This is the second significant departure from Wayra in the past few months, as Martín Villa stepped down from his position as global CEO of the accelerator in December of last year.
All of these changes have taken place following the creation of Open Future, an open innovation initiative that groups various Telefonica startup-related programs, such as Amerigo, Telefonica Ventures, Talentum or Wayra.
As we’ve explained in the past, we understand that Telefonica’s current president Cesar Alierta has been quite involved in the management of Open Future -many within the company wish this wasn’t the case-, and has appointed Javier Placer, his nephew, as the new director of the division.
Besides the departures of Martin Villa and Simon Devonshire, Wayra has also began to shut down some of its programs (Ireland and CEE) in an effort to focus on those markets where Telefonica has a strong presence.
Telefonica told Novobrief that following Simon’s departure, “Wayra Europe will report to Wayra’s (Open Future) global offices in Madrid, led by Ana Segurado”.