Digital Realty Trust has appointed Rob Coupland, a former executive from TelecityGroup, the European data center provider recently acquired by Equinix, Digital’s biggest competitor, to run its business in Europe, Middle East, and Africa.
In a statement, Digital Realty said Coupland’s appointment was related to its own acquisition of eight European data centers. The San Francisco-based data center REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) bought those facilities from Equinix, which was required to sell them in order for European antitrust authorities to approve its $3.8 billion Telecity deal, closed early this year.
Only one of the facilities was an Equinix data center; the rest had been operated by Telecity. The portfolio included four Telecity data centers in London, two in Amsterdam, and one in Frankfurt, as well as one Equinix data center in London. In February, Coupland was appointed as CEO of the business entity that was created to oversee the portfolio before it was sold to Digital for $874 million.
Coupland’s appointment comes at a time of big changes in the European data center market. The Equinix-Telecity merger rearranged the pecking order in the market, creating a new dominant player that’s unlikely to be surpassed by any company in the near future.
There is also a lot of uncertainty about what the UK’s vote to exit the European Union will mean for the region’s data center industry. The UK has been the biggest European data center market, and there is a lot at stake as British and European officials structure the post-Brexit relationship between Britain and the EU.
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As Digital Realty’s new managing director for the EMEA region, Coupland will report to Chris Kenney, senior VP, international. “Rob is uniquely qualified to lead our growing EMEA platform, given his extensive industry and leadership experience in the region, and we are delighted to expand his role within the organization,” Digital Realty CEO William Stein said in a statement.
Coupland joined Telecity in 2007 as strategic product director, was later appointed as COO and then as managing director, UK. Prior to Telecity, he served as head of marketing at NTL, and before that spent 13 years at Cable & Wireless, according to his LinkedIn profile.