What drives you to get out of bed in the morning?

I feel very privileged to lead Vodafone. It's a company where just about everything we do is fundamentally changing the way people are working, entertaining themselves and communicating.

I've been in the job for 11 years, and 11 years ago we were talking about this thing called 3G which seems like a distant past now.

Instead we're talking about the explosion of smartphones and fibre, and if you look at the dramatic changes in people's lifestyles driven by the communications industry and the business we are in - that is what gets me up every day.


The telco business model is obviously a difficult one. What is the outlook in your opinion for the telco sector and its future?

I'm very bullish about our industry and that's because if you look at what our customers use our core service for, it's the network - and they're finding more and more ways to use that network.

Usage is growing at 85 to 100 per cent year on year. The key challenge is how do you monetise that data growth, and we don't have all those answers. We just need to keep working on what our customers want and working with our partners looking at how we bring that all together.

Has the Telstra deal worked for Vodafone?

Absolutely. As a business today we've gone to number two in the total market and we're within 10 percentage points market-share wise off number one, so we've been able to create a business that now is relevant to consumers both mobile and fixed, on account and prepay, business and enterprise, be they government, large customers or very small businesses.

We've created a business which has significant capability. We still have ambitions to grow and have the capabilities to do so and as I say to people, if it wasn't successful I probably wouldn't be talking to you.

Around the world, Vodafone is buying up fixed [line] operators and we are the second largest fixed operator in Europe with 18 million lines. New Zealand was the first to move beyond mobile into total communications so there's a lot to like about our business here.

Vodafone competes against Spark - where does it collaborate?

We find ourselves at the network level often using each other's resources to connect up the various parts of our network.

We collaborate together on linking New Zealand with the rest of the world, so ourselves, Spark and Telstra have collaborated to build the second cable across to Australia called the Tasman Global Access network and that's being built right now.

We have a joint venture with 2degrees in the payments processing area called Semble and we've done a whole lot of stuff together with Spark in different areas, so clearly we are fierce competitors at a retail level but beyond that we look to collaborate to develop the industry where it's more cost effective to do so.

Vodafone rates well in terms of its staff diversity. Does this translate into profits and why is this important to the company?

As a business for a long time we've had the simple view that our employment diversity needs to reflect the diversity of our customers, that's what it's all about.

We serve customers right throughout New Zealand of every ethnicity, every gender and every demographic level so in that regard for us as an employer we want to attract people from all ethnicities and make sure we have a good gender balance right across the business.

You have been chief executive for 11 years now. What are your future plans?

I do get asked the question about my tenure a bit more now, probably because I've been in the chair for a wee while, but my answer to people is that I'm still having fun.

I'm still contributing and in the near term I continue to keep on doing what I'm doing which is leading a great bunch of people that are really focused on delivering great things to New Zealanders.

I think though beyond that, getting to the beach and doing a bit more fishing would be my ambition. Whether that transpires or someone offers me another role, who knows, but for me I do things I love and I love being here.

I have no plans to announce a retirement anytime soon but by definition I'm probably closer to the end than the beginning. There are not many people that get past 10 years in my role. A few but not many.