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Telecom taps Auckland Airport boss Simon Moutter as new chief

Monday 23rd April 2012

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Telecom has tapped Auckland International Airport boss Simon Moutter to head up the new-look telecommunications retailer after a five-month search.

Moutter returns to the fold after leaving Telecom in 2008 for his current role as chief executive of Auckland and will take on the new job in September. His previous roles include chief operating officer at Telecom during the operational split enforced by the previous Labour-led administration.

The appointment ends speculation Gen-I boss Chris Quin was the top contender for the job, and is part of a rejuvenation that’s seen Mark Verbiest take over as chairman now the Chorus network unit has been carved out as a stand-alone entity.

“His focus on customer experience has seen AIA voted best airport in Asia Pacific four years running, as well as significantly growing revenues from non-airport business,” Verbiest said in a statement. “This customer focus in a challenging environment, in addition to deep knowledge of telecommunications and experience as CEO of a large listed company, means Simon is superbly qualified to lead Telecom.”

Outgoing boss Paul Reynolds replaced Theresa Gattung in 2007 after the company’s relationship with the government broke down, and former Telecommunications Minister David Cunliffe forced operational separation between the network and retail units. Reynolds was brought in after overseeing a similar split at BT in the UK.

Reynolds flagged his exit in August, ending his five-year tenure at the country’s biggest telecommunications company that included structural separation of the Chorus unit into a separately listed entity.

Moutter will receive a base salary of $1.35 million, with cash and share incentives based on meeting performance targets, which may be lifted if be exceeds the board’s targets.

He will be eligible for $1 million of share rights annually as his long-term incentive, which will typically vest three years after being granted.

He will also receive a one-off grant of share rights worth $750,000 in two tranches. Moutter previously headed up Powerco through most of the 1990s.

Telecom put forward the prospect of structural separation last year in a bid to shed the heavy regulatory burden of operating a copper-line network monopoly, and to win tax-payer funding to build a nationwide fibre network.

That bid was successful, and Chorus won $929 million of the $1.35 billion on offer from the government to roll-out an ultra-fast broadband network.

Auckland Airport chair Joan Withers said chief financial officer Simon Robertson will act as chief executive once Moutter leaves at the end of his four-month notice period, and the board will immediately start a process to find his replacement.


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