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Kellie Nathan resurfaces at Telecom

UPDATE / Feb 5, 2013: Kellie Nathan has resurfaced at Telecom where the ex-Yellow marketing director has been named general manager for brand, communications and digital under chief marketing officer Jason Paris.

Ms Nathan was previously head of brand communication at Telecom before its directory business was sold in 2007.

A second Telecom appoint sees Grant McBeath installed as general manager for sales. Mr McBeath has had a number of roles with Nokia. He most recently served as the struggling Finnish phone maker's managing director for Thailand and "emerging Asia."

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June 27, 2012: Say goodbye to the marketing director with the guts to say her product doesn't work.

Kellie Nathan is leaving the Yellow Pages Group.

Ms Nathan was the only public face left from the directory company's glory days.

The former head of brand communication at Telecom joined Yellow soon after the business was spun off (Telecom sold the directory division to a private consortium for $2.24 billion in 2007).

In July last year, Ms Nathan became Yellow's director of business transformation, a title she has held for her final 12 months with the company.

But she is best known for her marketing director, driving award-winning efforts such as the "Treehouse" campaign. And for the time when onTVNZ7's The Ad Show she was asked about the (since upgraded) Yellow.co.nz's dodgy search results. She replied with the immortal “People actually race up to me on the street and say, ‘Do you know your product doesn’t work?’ And it’s like stating the obvious, really.”

Now, Ms Nathan will be dropping her truth bombs somewhere else.

"I'm planning to do some short-term marketing consultancy work initially, then find a new permanent opportunity," she told NBR ONLINE.

Friday is her last day at Yellow.

She will not be replaced.

New directions
Yellow's consortium of lenders (including BNZ, ANZ and Westpac) wrote off most of the $1.5 billion borrowed for its highly leveraged 2007 purchase from Telecom.

The company has also cut staff, including a cull of 20% of employees in February this year.

It says it is now trading profitably.

New CEO Scott Pomeroy – a US import – has swallowed the company's pride and entered a reseller agreement with Google for its search ad business.

Yellow is now understood to be New Zealand's largest purchaser of Google Ad words (on behalf of companies that have bought a Yellow listing, and to promote Yellow searches for generic categories).

The company has also focused on offering services to small businesses who want to promote themselves online.

In the Auckland market, Yellow has also been involved in a stoush with NZ Post's Localist, with both sides pushing print and online directories with suburb-specific listings.

The battle has included a barney over Yellow's use of Localist's signature crimson.

So far, with Yellow and Localist both cutting back, it's looking like a war with no winner.