Vodafone New Zealand staff face an uncertain future with redundancies on the horizon as the company looks to a new way of operating.
Staff were updated during a series of internal meetings today about department changes and a change in strategy for the organisation.
An ex-manager, who maintains good links inside the telco, told the Herald that from consultations so far, the widespread expectation among staff is that hundreds of positions will go. Another source who still works for the company backed up his story.
But speaking to Newstalk ZB, Vodafone New Zealand chief executive Jason Paris said it was too early to tell how many of the telco's 2700 staff will see their roles axed.
He said a briefing today centred on direct reports to the executive team. Ten managers saw their roles "removed."
"There's new roles being created, some are going to be merged together and there will be roles that will be removed," Paris said.
"It's fair to say that the change will be significant because the strategy is pretty bold."
Paris said while every area of the business will be reviewed between now and the end of March, any areas they can significantly automate or digitise will probably be the most impacted.
"We haven't got our digital channels where we want them to be… so we'll be doing a lot of work on automation and digitalisation."
Paris said you'll start to see the company rearrange from trying to win new customers to doing a "much better" job of looking after existing customers.
New boss: Vodafone NZ needs to get in shape for IPO
New chief executive Jason Paris has already made it plain that there will be belt-tightening in some areas - to free up funds for investment in others - as he prepares the business for an IPO next year.
"My remit is to get the business in shape over 2019 to list in 2020," he told the Herald on November 10, just a week and a half into his new role.
"I'd like to see us on a better commercial trajectory before we list."
Notably, he said Vodafone NZ will position itself on the NZX (or ASX) as a dividend rather than a growth company, implying an ongoing focus on tight cost-controls.
And in an interview over the Christmas break, the Vodafone boss said: "The business hasn't achieved the ambitious plans it set itself in 2018 so we are having to make some tough prioritisation calls at the moment. "
"We need to speed up our innovation, decision making and delivery, and to simplify our products and experiences.
"We are not where we need to be from a commercial, customer experience or cultural perspective, and we are all focused on closing that gap."
Earlier, Paris said he admired the "agile" philosophy employed during a recent Spark restructure, which saw the telco re-organise into small-cross, functional teams (and laid off a chunk of staff in the process as it shaved $48m from its wage bill).
He told the Herald it was likely Vodafone's restructure would follow agile principles.
Vodafone NZ's profit dropped $7.7m down to $39m last year on revenue that edged up $5.1 million to $2 billion.