Mark Donaldson, the chief executive and founder of local tech company Phitek, has been pushed out of his job as shareholders conduct a review of the company's structure.

Phitek is one of the darlings of the local tech scene, with its noise-cancelling headphone technology getting rave reviews and being picked up by many of the world's airlines.

In an interview earlier this year, Donaldson, who lives in Switzerland, said all the strategic planning carried out to develop Phitek's innovations into products and solutions is now coming to fruition.

Phitek had its first big break from Panasonic Avionics in 2003, supplying the connectors to the headphones and noise cancellation intelligence inside the headphones.

Today Phitek systems are fitted on more than 250,000 seats on 50 airlines, including Singapore Airlines, Air NZ and Cathay Pacific.

Executive director and acting chief executive Paul Van Tol confirmed yesterday that Donaldson was no longer chief executive.

He said that major shareholders and the board last week decided that there was a need for a review of the commercial, business side of the company.

Van Tol said there was no dispute, that Phitek had "fantastic technology" and that customers were "raving" about it.

"But I think when it comes to the technology - it's very typical for a technology company - it develops technology, it goes to the market, it gets a customer - then it goes on to the next thing, but it doesn't scale those opportunities, that needed to stop. We need to change," said Van Tol.

Business consultancy Howard and Co had been called in to conduct a review of the company.

"In the meantime, we all said - we need someone here in Auckland who can take charge in the meantime and execute on any changes that need to be made quickly," he said. " We needed to increase the authority a little bit."

"That meant that Mark was asked to step out of his role as CEO, in the background we all believe that Mark has done a fantastic job in developing the technology, he has done a fantastic job in getting those first customers - we still need people and talent to fulfil that role, it's just that it will be in a different structure."

Van Tol said a search was now underway to find a new chief executive.

"There are still fantastic growth opportunities for the company, we just have to make sure that we don't just go into new things all the time, that we execute on the existing opportunities and turn them into a success."

Asked if there was a future role in the company for Donaldson, Van Tol said it was "unclear at this stage".

"Everybody is on the same page, we need the best talent, we just need to put them in the best roles and Mark is definitely a very talented guy."

Phitek is a privately owned company, with around 56 per cent of its shares owned by The Warehouse founder Stephen Tindall's K1W1 investment vehicle and venture capital fund TMT Ventures.

The rest of the company is divided among smaller investors, including Mark Donaldson.