'Reshaping Telecom to thrive'

New chief executive Simon Moutter. Photo by Olivia Caldwell.
New chief executive Simon Moutter. Photo by Olivia Caldwell.
Change is inevitable for Telecom as it continues to face intense competition in every market in which it operates, new chief executive Simon Moutter says.

Mr Moutter returned to Telecom after five years away, which included a stint as chief executive of Auckland International Airport.

"From time to time, people have asked me why I came back to Telecom.

Well, that's an easy question to answer. I am a passionate New Zealander and I believe Telecom is one of New Zealand's most important companies."

However, he was never motivated to return to Telecom to manage a slow decline through simply cutting costs, Mr Moutter said in his address to the company's annual meeting yesterday.

Cost control would be a part of what the company did but he wanted and expected Telecom to win in key markets and be innovative enough to also deliver growth through the revenue base.

"I am now early on the path of reshaping Telecom to thrive in this new environment where we are truly free to compete without the encumbrance of invasive regulation. To that end, my first weeks have been all about listening and learning.

"In my mind, it's important that I come back to the company with no preconceptions and take the time to understand exactly how Telecom works, after such extensive change."

While many of his initial observations were positive, it was also clear there was still much work to do, Mr Moutter said.

Telecom was at the start of a long process of reshaping itself as it adapted to its fundamentally new operating environment and moved to simplify the technology stack after the demerger.

Mr Moutter said he was a firm believer in the power of a single, clear plan that everyone understood. Once the necessary information had been gathered, a new strategy plan would be delivered - one he believed would put Telecom back on the path to growth.

The new plan was expected early next year.

"As I said at the start, Telecom is incredibly important for New Zealand.

Yet, over the years, it feels like Telecom has lost its emotional connection with many New Zealanders.

We have an enormous opportunity ahead of us to completely reshape this company and re-forge our deep links with the people of this country," he said.


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