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Telecom NZ has new cannon fodder for separation

Telecom NZ has beefed up its management team, importing experts from the other side of the world to help tackle its arduous task of operational separation.
Written by Suzanne Tindal, Contributor

Telecom NZ has beefed up its management team, importing experts from the other side of the world to help tackle the arduous task of operational separation.

Frank Mount
(Credit: Telecom NZ)

The incumbent NZ telco has just started pulling itself apart in a three-way operational split, brought on by government urging.

The telco's plan for separation was formally approved by the NZ Communications and Information Technology Minister David Cunliffe on 31 March, which he called Separation Day. From this date, the plan became legally enforceable, with fees to pay if future separation milestones are not met. The separated network unit, Chorus, was also established.

The wholesale and retail sections have been operating separately for two years after a swathe of reforms introduced in 2006 by Cunliffe prompted the company to voluntarily split itself into two.

The two new executives, Alan Gourdie (CEO Retail), and Frank Mount (chief transformation officer), will have to hit the ground running, according to CEO Peter Reynolds in a statement today: "Building on other recent appointments to the executive team, Alan and Frank will play key roles in driving the company's transformation for long-term growth."

The chief transformation role was created earlier this year to deal specifically with the challenges of separation, according to CEO Paul Reynolds.

Alan Gourdie
(Credit: Telecom NZ)

"The creation of this new role ... is reflective of the sheer size and scope of the transformation ahead for Telecom New Zealand. We need to deliver our regulatory undertakings and build a series of new, world class networks and services," he said at the time.

Reynolds expounded today on Mount's experience as chief technology officer at telcos such as Cable and Wireless in the UK: "Frank has exceptional experience in driving transformational change, and an exhaustive knowledge of the full spectrum of telecommunications and IP technologies. This equips him perfectly to execute our long-term technology strategy."

In a statement, Mount said that working for Telecom NZ in its current circumstances was an opportunity he wouldn't miss.

"The Telecom New Zealand story is a compelling one for me, as indeed it should for any observer of the global telco sector right now. Telecom is reinventing itself and is clearly committed to delivering its next-generation network and the enhancements it brings for an improved customer experience.

"The scale of the New Zealand market will allow us to bring world-leading technology faster, to a more receptive market, than perhaps any other country in the world. As a technologist it was a challenge I couldn't pass up and I can't wait to get started at Telecom on 9 June," he concluded.

Gourdie, who has previously worked at Heineken and its sister firm, Asia Pacific Breweries, will start on 25 August.

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