Jason Paris is set to take on his former boss Simon Moutter when he steps up to the top job at Vodafone New Zealand in November.
After 17 years with the telco, current chief executive Russell Stanners announced his resignation today and ruled out speculation that he might be eyeing up the role of Sky TV boss.
Stanners said the company would continue to operate as usual until he completed his tenure in October.
Paris is no stranger to the New Zealand industry or Vodafone.
Having held the role as Spark chief for home, mobile and business since mid-2015, Paris crossed to Vodafone Group earlier this year taking on the job of director of convergence acceleration for Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.
The position saw Paris move to London with his family. But after just a few months there he will be returning home for the New Zealand chief executive role.
He returns to a local market that is as competitive as ever.
Vodafone and Spark, which Moutter heads, are neck and neck in the mobile market, with Vodafone having increased numbers from 2.45 million last September, to 2.56 million at the end of March, with 63,000 more prepaid and 12,000 more contract users.
In Spark's full-year result in February, it reported 2.44 million mobile connections, while 2degrees reported 1.42 million mobile customers in its latest figures.
Shane Minogue from market intelligence firm IDC said Paris had a lot of experience and would likely bring a competitive attitude.
"He was great at Spark and he has an aggressive competing attitude so I think he will bring a new lease of life, a fresh approach and a new perspective to Vodafone but it will be interesting to see him go toe to toe with Simon [Moutter] over different things and on the competition front," Minogue said.
"We will have to wait and see if he takes the same highly competitive approach over to Vodafone."
Stanners first joined Vodafone as director of business markets in 2002, before taking the reins as chief executive in 2005.
During his tenure, Vodafone shifted from a pure mobile business to an integrated telecommunications company and acquired several other businesses including TelstraClear, WorldxChange and more recently Farmside.
Last year a proposed merger with Sky TV was blocked by the Commerce Commission and Vodafone shelved plans for a potential public listing.
Vodafone and Sky have held a significant partnership, particularly around content.
Vodafone had relied on similar deals in the past but would likely need to step up its focus on branching out as competitor Spark had done, Minogue said.
"When you look at the telco market, in general, it really is all about trying something different," Minogue said.
"Whether you like it or not the basic connectivity will only get you so far and that market has been heavily competed, so every player will be looking at what they can do in terms of new products, new services and new ways to compete."
"Paris will likely be looking for new ways to grow the business and change the path away from a traditional telco to a leading digital services provider."
Results last month from Vodafone's parent, Vodafone Global, showed that its fully-owned New Zealand subsidiary suffered a 0.5 per cent fall in service revenue, while total revenue, which includes handset sales, increased by 0.6 per cent in the year to the end of March.
Vodafone NZ made a net profit of $57 million last year but results for 2018 won't be known until its Companies Office filing.