Telecom post Theresa

So Theresa finally retires from Telecom NZ. finally. But sadly not until June. She is proud that there has been ‘almost no involuntary turnover in the top 100 in Telecom’ and is ‘proud of culture of Telecom’.

I wouldn’t be. Sure it was a tough hand-over – inheriting under investment in infrastructure, and antediluvian CDMA wireless technology – but so much more could have been done.

Her salary in 2006 is quoted at $2.9m, which seems extremely low for someone running such a giant company. On the other hand she has not delivered performance, so that’s about what she should be paid.

In a later article, an anonymous analyst is quoted as saying : “Someone is going to have to present a cuddlier face.”

Cuddly is not the issue – competence is. Image is not the issue – getting the operations right is.

The talk is of replacing Theresa with another insider – tell me it isn’t true. Telecom is a classic candidate for a turnaround, and it needs to be comprehensive. (I’d love to be part of an LBO if anyone is interested ;-)  The best way to achieve that is to bring in an outsider, shake up a good chunk of the senior staff and dramatically shift the culture.

Bizarre financial decisions (selling Yellow Pages, doubling up on a bad investment in Australia) must stop, group-think from that firmly embedded highly political top 100 employees must stop, incomprehensible emotionally/personality based decisions (e.g. Ferrit) must be stopped. Colossally expensive glossy branding exercises need to be replaced by a genuine customer-centric culture.

So talk to me and other customers – ask me what I need to happily pay Telecom money. Start by making my internet work like it does here in France – flawlessly and fast.

…and that search for a new CEO had better look outside of Telecom and outside of New Zealand.

Published by Lance Wiggs