David Sharp Fired as Vitelco Chief

Dec. 7, 2007 — David Sharp was fired Friday as president of Vitelco, a position he has held for about four years.
He was replaced by E. Clarke Garnett, who was appointed to run the company by the board of directors, according to a news release from Janette Millin Young, public relations director for Innovative Telephone.
"Clarke is an experienced leader who has specialized in the restructuring and reorganizing of troubled telecom operators," said Stan Springel, court-appointed trustee in the Innovative Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to the release. "I am confident that Clarke will stabilize the ops of Innovative Telephone and position the company for transition to new ownership."
In an interoffice memo faxed to the Source late Friday morning, Sharp said, "I believe that Innovative is a fine organization that has been operating in a set of very trying circumstances, particularly over the last few years." He continued, "I regret the short notice, but I'm sure that I will have to opportunity to talk at some point in the future."
Springel told the Public Services Commission last month, in his first-ever meeting with commissioners, that he had no intention of running the company or laying people off. However, he said at the time, he reserved the right to replace management.
Garnett has worked previously with companies such as i-wireless, CoServ Communications, National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance, KINILC, ComNet Cellular, and Centel, the release said.
Gannett said it is his intention to "improve operations" and position the company to be a "strong and stable telecommunications provider for years to come," according to the release. Employees and customers should see improvements as he works through the "challenges the company faces," he said.
Some of the challenges are the result of former owner Jeffrey Prosser leveraging Vitelco to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars that he used — in part — to finance his lavish lifestyle, which involved buying jet airplanes, luxury cars, jewelry and art, building million-dollar homes and leasing apartments in the high-rent districts of New York and Miami.
Vitelco has remained the legal name of the Virgin Islands Telephone Co., but has done business under the name Innovative Telephone since Prosser took over the company, moving it from a public to a private company in the late 1990s.
Sharp had replaced Samuel Ebbesen, who ostensibly moved up the corporate ladder to become a board member of parent company Innovative Communications Co.
Ebbesen was fired in September along with Prosser's brother Michael Prosser, Richard Goodwin and John Raynor.
As the sole shareholder of Vitelco under the bankruptcy, Springel appointed a new Vitelco board of directors. The board removed Sharp.
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