TeamTalk managing director David Ware has resigned from the company he founded 22 years ago, acknowledging his behaviour had been "sub-optimal" and attracted complaints, saying he stayed on too long.

The Wellington-based company's board accepted Ware's resignation today and will start looking for a replacement, it said in a statement. Ware said he should have left the company last year, and had received complaints from "a few of the 200 staff" over some aspects of his behaviour which he described as "sub-optimal".

"I have been under huge stress for the past few years running three companies, commuting between Auckland, Wellington and Timaru while facing a challenging market situation and my health has gone downhill," Ware said. "I haven't handled relationships well and the stress has taken a toll, so I'm heading to the farm to watch the grass grow."

Ware has been an outspoken critic of the Telecommunications Development Levy, which replaced the old Telecommunications Service Obligation to cover the costs of non-commercially viable customers, calling it a tax to subsidise the rural initiatives of larger firms such as Chorus and Vodafone New Zealand.


Chairman Roger Sowry told BusinessDesk the board is "negotiating around the transition" over the next few weeks to determine the details of Ware's exit. He declined to comment on whether the complaints triggered Ware's resignation.

TeamTalk struggled to embed its 2013 Farmside acquisition into the wider business, eliciting a series of writedowns in the value of the rural internet provider and its assets.

The telecommunications firm has since overhauled its operations and has said it's performing in line with forecasts so far this year.

The shares rose 1.5 per cent to 70 cents, having declined 5.5 per cent so far this year.