Telecom New Zealand picks BT man for new boss

Telecom New Zealand has plucked its new CEO from the upper echelons of the UK's biggest telco, BT.Paul Reynolds, former head of BT Wholesale, which resells access to other ISPs as well as BT's retail arm, will take up his position from the end of September this year.

Telecom New Zealand has plucked its new CEO from the upper echelons of the UK's biggest telco, BT.

Paul Reynolds, former head of BT Wholesale, which resells access to other ISPs as well as BT's retail arm, will take up his position from the end of September this year. Reynolds replaces outgoing CEO Theresa Gattung, who leaves today. Telecom COO Simon Moutter will be acting CEO until Reynolds' arrival.

He will be based in Auckland, on an annual salary of NZ$1.75 million with a potential extra NZ$1.75 million of performance related bonuses.

Reynolds has headed BT Wholesale since 2000, overseeing both the telco's structural separation at the behest of UK telecoms regulator Ofcom, and the company's ongoing efforts to diversify the its core business from telecoms into IT, IPTV and consulting.

As well as acting in a fractious regulatory environment, the new Telecom head has had executive responsibility for BT's 21st Century Network scheme -- an ambitious 10 billion pound plan to build a UK-wide all-IP network. The 21CN as it's known, was recently moved from the control of Wholesale to a separate unit within BT.

Telecom chairman Wayne Boyd said in a statement yesterday that, as an ex-BT staffer, Reynolds has gained experienced in a regulatory environment similar to New Zealand's and is ideally placed to take over as head of the operator.

Mike Cansfield, Ovum analyst, said in a research note today that Reynolds departure from BT is likely to be on friendly rather than acrimonious grounds, despite the recent structural changes at the telco.

"Looking at TNZ, his inheritance faces plenty of big challenges -- a slow rollout of broadband (sounds familiar!), ongoing regulatory issues, and fierce competition from Vodafone to name but three."

"Add on to this the topological challenges of both islands, and a small but dispersed population and the complexities are magnified even more. Leading TNZ will be no holiday.

"But in addition to network/wholesale, Paul also brings operational experience (from his spell in his native Scotland -- a country with similar challenges to New Zealand) and product management skills to TNZ. All-in-all this makes him eminently suitable for his new job. His appointment is a good fit for both parties," Cansfield wrote.

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