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Vodafone man recruited to run Telecom's Skinny Mobile

UPDATE / Dec 18: Telecom has recruited Ross Parker to run Skinny Mobile, the company's budget-priced prepay sub-brand.

Mr Parker joins Telecom from Vodafone Australia, where he was the executive GM for prepay and prior to that he was head of pricing at Hutchison's Australia subsidiary, 3 Mobile (Telecom owned a 10% stake in Hutchison, and Telecom executive Rod Snodgrass sat on the company's board. Hutchison merged with Vodafone Australia in 2009; Telecom holds a 5% stake in the merged company but has no operational or boardroom involvement). 

The Sydney-based Mr Parker starts with Telecom in January.

Mr Parker will report to Telecom Digital Ventures CEO Rod Snodgrass rather than Telecom Retail boss Chris Quin. Skinny was brought under Telecom Digital Ventures when the new division was formed earlier this year.

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Skinny Mobile boss quits; Telecom names fill-in

Dec 6: Another one bites the dust - Telecom's Skinny Mobile is lining up its third boss in three years with the departure of CEO Paul Taylor.

After a rival ratted out the move to NBR, Telecom confirmed Mr Taylor has resigned his role, and is leaving the company altogether.

"Paul Taylor has resigned from Skinny. His last day will be 20 December.  Paul has decided that after five years with Telecom, he’d like to consider different challenges outside the group," spokesman Andrew Pirie said.

Telecom Digital Ventures senior vice president Ed Hyde has been put in charge of Skinny while Telecom searches for a replacement.

Since the start of this year, Skinny - formerly under Retail - has reported to Telecom Digital Ventures (TDV), headed by Rod Snodgrass (TDV is also behind Telecom's experiment with a no-frills, low cost ISP service).

Skinny was launched as a sub-brand in January 2011, with a low-cost, youth brand focus.

It was originally headed by Paul O'Shannesey, who  left on June 26 last year to be replaced by Mr Taylor (formerly Telecom's head of mobile marketing).

Mr O'Shannesey's patron, Telecom Retail CEO Alan Gourdie, quit soon after.

While the flamboyant Mr O'Shannesey courted a media profile and favoured youth event sponsorships, Mr Taylor kept his head down. His reign was noticeable for Skinny broadening to be more of a low-cost brand than an edgy/youth brand, plus a series of attack ads aimed at 2degrees.

Some analysts have speculated that Skinny's aggressive campaign has stanched the flow of prepay customers to 2degrees, but Telecom has never broken out numbers for its sub-brand.

2degrees, which does not have the same reporting requirements as publicly listed Telecom and Vodafone, has not updated on mobile customers since August 2012, when it claimed 1 million active customer connection, 10% of which were on higher-yielding contract plans.

In August, Telecom reported a net gain of 92,000 mobile customers in the second half of its financial year for a total of 1.81 million (49.17% on contract).

Vodafone had 2.33 million mobile customer connections as at June 30, up from 2.31 million three months earlier (35.6% on contract).

ckeall@nbr.co.nz

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