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Current as of 19/12/14 07:40PM NZST

Telecom opts for tale of two cities

By Helen Twose

Telecom's new chief executive Paul Reynolds will be based in Auckland, the company confirmed yesterday, but it denied that signalled a shift away from its Wellington headquarters.

Telecom spokesman Mark Watts said Reynolds would be based at Telecom's Hereford St offices when he joined the company in September.

"For a long time now we've had a range of our senior executives based here anyway. So it's not in a sense a wholesale shift to a city we haven't been to before."

Chairman Wayne Boyd hinted at Gattung's resignation announcement that the chief executive role would move north to Auckland.

Watts said Telecom's regulatory and legal teams would remain in Wellington. "You want to stay close to your stakeholders. The population centre of gravity and the business centre of gravity is in Auckland and the chief executive's presence reflects that."

He said the Auckland office would not be labelled the "head office".

David Kennedy, research director at Ovum, said the role of chief executives was to run the business and not spend all their time in conversations with government.

"There's always a danger in that situation, in that regulation becomes the end, whereas in fact it's just a means to an end.

It's important to keep a focus on what the customers actually want," said Kennedy. "You can interpret that his move to Auckland is consistent with that view."

Reynolds said on Thursday, the day his appointment was announced, that he would be paying particular attention to the needs of customers.

"What I plan to do is focus very much on customers and satisfying customers. Getting the growth in the business that comes on the back of that and that in my experience tends to satisfy shareholders," he said.

"We have to be alert, we have to be nimble, we have to be agile and we always have to be thinking about how we give that great experience to our customers."

Forsyth Barr analyst Guy Hallwright said staff location was really not that critical for a telco. It was too early to tell if Telecom's senior team would converge in Auckland.

"They've decided, as many businesses have, that it's probably sensible to have their senior management spread across two cities."

Industry analyst Darian Bird of IDC said while it might make sense to have the whole executive team in one place, he would still expect Telecom to maintain a significant presence in Wellington.

Telecom shares closed up 11c at $4.59 yesterday.

* Telecom has announced the appointment of former banker Murray Horn to replace Rob McLeod on its board. Horn has held senior roles at ANZ and Treasury.

McLeod has stepped down from all his directorships to focus on his new job as chief executive of accounting firm Ernst & Young.


Where Are They?

Auckland

* Paul Reynolds, new chief executive
* Kevin Kenrick, chief operating officer, consumer
* Trisha McEwan, general manager human resources
* Matt Crockett, general manager, wholesale
* Kevin Bowler, chief executive, Yahoo!Xtra

Wellington

* Marko Bogoievski, chief financial officer
* Simon Moutter, chief operating office, business
* Mark Ratcliffe, chief operating officer technology and enterprises
* Mark Verbiest, group general counsel

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