The sayings of Theresa Gattung: Won the Herald's worst sayings of 2006 awards with: ``The Government is way too smart to do anything dumb'', such as regulating Telecom's business. It did. But then there was this gem: "Think about pricing. What has every telco in the world done in the past? It's used confusion as its chief marketing tool, and that's fine."

Key Points:

Theresa Gattung's Life and Times:

Theresa Gattung became chief executive of Telecom on 1 October 1999, replacing Roderick Deane. She was 36-years-old.

On Gattung's appointment Deane became chairman of Telecom.

Advertisement

The relationship between Deane and Gattung was close and she has been described as Deane's protege.

Deane stepped down last year after 14 years with the company and was replaced by Wayne Boyd.

Before her appointment as chief executive Gattung was the group general manager services at Telecom from April 1996 and prior to that general manager of marketing.

Before going to Telecom she was chief manager marketing for the Bank of New Zealand following a period in a similar position with National Mutual.

According to the Telecom annual report, Gattung took home $2,907,500 for the year to 30 June 2006, which included share options and a performance incentive payment for the previous year.

A wearer of suits since her days as a student, the impeccably turned out Gattung favoured New Zealand designers Adrienne Winkelmann, Liz Mitchell, Trelise Cooper and Tanya Carlson.

The eldest of four girls, Gattung attended McKillop College in Rotorua before graduating in 1983 from the University of Waikato with a Bachelor of Management Studies with Honours, majoring in Economics and Marketing.

Her burning ambition was scoffed at by her peers, but she proved them wrong by forging a career that saw her ranked 49th most powerful woman in business by Forbes magazine.

Fortune magazine rated her even more highly, slotting her in at 23rd. Oft-criticised at home, Ms Gattung was highly rated overseas and often in demand as a speaker.

Her love of Telecom was evident, with even the number plate on her Audi sports car bearing a company slogan.

Her resignation comes at the end of a torrid two years, both in business and her personal life.

In 2006, she was hit by a car on Wellington's Oriental Parade, which left her with "a swollen knee and cuts and bruises on her legs".

Ms Gattung, who swims every morning she can, was crossing the road to get to the pool.

She was taken to hospital with leg injuries, and was still taking work calls as she recuperated.

That year, she also split from her long-term partner. She has no children.

Her love of horses sees her out riding most weekends, and has extended to her buying shares in racehorses.

She is a lover of New Zealand art and has a healthy private collection.

Stepping down from Telecom will give Gattung more time to pursue her passion for horses, both as rider and as a race horse owner.

- NZ HERALD STAFF, NZPA