A man in a suit smiling at the camera. Behind him is a wall that shows the second half of the Magnet Plus logo.
John Delves. Image: Andres Poveda

‘You have to earn people’s trust for them to believe in you’

25 Oct 2021

Magnet Plus managing director John Delves talks about his career journey and the most important traits of a good leader.

With two decades of experience under his belt, John Delves is now the managing director of Magnet Plus. The telecoms company, formerly known as Magnet Networks, was acquired by Speed Fibre Group in December last year.

In the same month, Delves was appointed to his current role, having previously spent more than 10 years at CEO level with Digicel in the Pacific and Caribbean.

He was also the founding chair of the Digicel Foundation in Trinidad and Tobago and has worked in a variety of commercial roles in the food industry with businesses such as Greencore, Kerry Foods and Hibernia Foods.

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What first stirred your interest in a career in this area?

I had the opportunity to move from the food industry into a new and challenging industry that was growing really fast, coupled with the opportunity to work in emerging markets and in countries where improved connectivity and competition could make a real impact and improve the lives of the citizens.

What brought you to your current role as managing director?

The opportunity to bring together two fantastic businesses under one brand and create a strong and credible alternative to the big guys, and to create some real disruption in a market that became quite vanilla.

What were the biggest challenges you encountered on your career path?

Dealing with a competitor which was majority-owned by the Government in two markets can be very challenging. You have to be persistent and consistent, make sure you are offering great value, an excellent product which is backed by first-class customer service. You will make the breakthrough and even when the odds are stacked against you, you will win, even in the most challenging of environments.

Was there any one person who was particularly influential as your career developed?

My brother Colm Delves whom I was fortunate to work with in two companies. He unfortunately passed away last year but I am forever grateful in what he taught me in terms of true leadership, humility, integrity and always staying true to what you believe in.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Working with the fantastic team and talent that we have and constantly pushing and challenging each other to make things better, smarter and with the customer always at the centre.

What aspects of your personality do you feel make you suited to this job?

I would hope that I am approachable, honest, fair and transparent and that people learn from me and trust me. I believe that you have to earn people’s trust if you want them to believe in you and the direction of the business.

Does Magnet Plus support career progression?

Most definitely, and we have this already with seven internal promotions that we have done since I joined. We also benefit by being part of the Speed Fibre Group, which means that there are multiple opportunities across different teams and sectors of the business.

What advice would you give to those considering a career in this area?

The most important brand is your brand, so make sure you are continually challenging, educating, pushing, improving and looking after yourself. If you do this, you will remain relevant and have longevity in any area that you wish to work in.

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