Member log in

Telecom recruits school supplies man to replace director Kevin Roberts

LATEST: Telecom chairman explains 'bizarre' board appointment

Telecom says independent director Kevin Roberts has resigned.

The New York-based Mr Roberts is worldwide CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi, Telecom's longtime ad agency, and the current holder of its creative contract. He joined Telecom's board in 2008.

He has been replaced by Ido Leffler, a University of Technology, Sydney grad described as the "co-founder and CEO at Yoobi, a new school supplies company that engages kids through bright colours, cool designs, and most importantly, cause. Yoobi is sold exclusively at Target (USA) stores nationwide."

The San Francisco-based Mr Leffler describes himself on LinkedIn as a "Social Entrepreneur, Investor, Author and lover of life!"

“Ido’s appointment will help Telecom’s development of exciting new digital services as we transform to Spark and tackle the challenges and opportunities of the digital era. His experience positively complements the mix of skills and experience of the existing board members," chairman Mark Verbiest says.


RAW DATA: Telecom statement

Telecom Board announces Directorship changes

Telecom has announced that non-executive director Kevin Roberts has retired from the Board of Directors after serving for nearly six years, and that the Board has appointed Ido Leffler as an independent non-executive director to replace Mr Roberts. Mr Roberts, the CEO Worldwide of Saatchi and Saatchi, has been a member of the Telecom Board since August 2008.

Telecom Chairman Mark Verbiest said, “On behalf of my fellow directors I’d like to thank Kevin for his contribution to Telecom. Kevin has helped guide Telecom through one of its most transformative phases. This includes the demerger of Chorus and more latterly a bold repositioning strategy that is culminating in the change of name to Spark.

Mr Roberts said, “Telecom is now a retail service provider, competing in the real world of freedom of choice. And having brilliant brands that connect with the hearts of customers is first and foremost. I look forward to seeing Spark, over time, become one of New Zealand’s most loved brands.”

Mr Verbiest, says the Board undertook an extensive domestic and international recruitment process for a replacement and was delighted to be able to announce the appointment of Mr Leffler.

“Ido’s appointment will help Telecom’s development of exciting new digital services as we transform to Spark and tackle the challenges and opportunities of the digital era. His experience positively complements the mix of skills and experience of the existing board members.”

Mr Leffler says he is excited about joining the Board, “Telecom is one of the most iconic brands in New Zealand. The chance to work with a phenomenal team to reinvent and relaunch the brand is an incredible opportunity. I'm impressed with the team's level of dedication to developing a company with a mission to truly make a difference in the community. After hearing the vision of the leadership and board members, combined with the technology, media, and social good platforms within Telecom, I realized this was an opportunity I had to accept.”

In accordance with the Company’s constitution, Mr Leffler will retire and offer himself for election at the annual meeting of shareholders to be held on 7 November 2014.
 

Bio for Ido Leffler

Ido Leffler is the Co-founder & CEO at Yoobi, a new school supplies company that engages kids through bright colours, cool designs, and most importantly, cause. Yoobi is sold exclusively at Target (USA) stores nationwide. For every Yoobi item purchased, Yoobi distributes an item to a classroom in need, in the USA.

By 2015, Yoobi aims to impact more than 30,000 classrooms, with the goal of changing the lives of over 750,000 kids. Ido is also Co-Founder of San Francisco based Yes To Inc. (the makers of Yes To Carrots, Yes To Cucumbers, Yes To Tomatoes, Yes To Blueberries and Yes To Grapefruit). Yes To is one of the leading natural beauty brands in the world (Yes To ™ is the # 2 natural beauty brand in the USA) with distribution in over 25,000 stores in over 20 countries (including Target, Wal‐Mart, Walgreens, CVS, Kroger, Safeway, Publix, Ahold, Ulta, Whole Foods Market, Boots UK etc).

Ido sits on numerous corporate/advisory boards including The United Nations Foundation Global Entrepreneur Council & The Dell Global EIR Advisory Board.

Ido co‐authored the book “Get Big Fast and Do More Good,” which was published in November 2013, and has received accolades from TIME, Entrepreneur, Forbes, SUCCESS Magazine, among others. “Get Big Fast and Do More Good” was named one of the top 5 business books of 2014 by 1800CEOREADS.com

Amongst others awards, Ido was named by Fast Company as one of the 1000 most creative people in business (USA 2014) by SmartCompany (Australia 2008) in its 30 top entrepreneurs under 30, by Women’s Wear Daily as one of the top 12 beauty industry leaders under 40 (USA 2013) and by Australian Unlimited (An Australian government initiative) as one of the top 50 Achieving Australians outside of Australia (2013).

Ido attended the University of Technology Sydney where he earned his Bachelor of Business in Marketing & International Business.

Comments and questions
13

Saatchis might have to try to earn this account for a change...

What a strange appointment.

What experience does Leffler have that is aligned with Telecom/Spark strategy?

Could it be something like commercialising corporate responsibility through the Telecom Foundation?

Completely bizarre.

- No New Zealand or telco experience.
- No corporate experience, no turnaround experience, no finance experience.
- The bio leads with Yoobi, a company formed in 2014

“Telecom is one of the most iconic brands in New Zealand. "

Telecom is a company with a tremendous legacy, but if the brand "Telecom" is so valuable then why is it being destroyed to be replaced with the generic Spark?

Overall this says a lot about what Telecom consider they are - and that's not a telco.

Wow... Lance you finally got it...

This appointment is nuts! Who put him up, and what were the other directors thinking..! I don't think Telecom know what they are....

Lance, seems pretty obvious to me that Telecom has lots of people on the board with that experience already.

This guy is an entrepreneur, with connections into silicon valley, and has a heap of digital experience.

Seems a perfect fit for a company looking to modernise themselves and move away from being the 'network company' most people still think they are.

Now if only he was a non-white woman we might have a bit more diversity. But at least he is young, something that boards often miss out when considering 'diversity'

(and most people's bio does indeed start with their most recent thing, so not sure why that is a problem)

In my opinion, I think it is a good move. That means S&S no longer has a foot in the door with Telecom.

Ridiculous! Yes, the guy is obviously intelligent and successful, BUT he has absolutely no Telco experience nor does he have any knowledge in the Digital industry which given his appointment "will help Telecom’s development of exciting new digital services ..... tackle the challenges and opportunities of the digital era.", you'd think he'd at least have that! He may be an Aussie, but he's never worked in NZ so is unfamiliar with our culture and his work experience seems to be all US based. The only positive here is that Saatchi's will/should have to at least work for the account.

no wonder Saatchi had been getting telecom to spend and spend on new brands....latest will be abandonig the $600million worth Telecom brand to spend untold additional millions on "spark"

another of the whoo-haaa smart-looking people telecom loves to recruit.....they prove to be extremely costly in the long run....

Lets send out the lynch mob in 12 mths when it is a failure - or - credit the board on the appointment

Roberts on the Telecom Board has been the most obvious case of conflict of interest and terrible corporate governance I have ever witnessed, somehow ignored by shareholders, industry bodies and the media alike. Saatchi & Saatchi have under-performed for years, it is well known that the marketing department at Telecom have wanted to move their business to other agencies for many years, and Roberts has personally interfered with marketing multiple times (against all Board member rules), including the infamous 'Abstain' campaign featuring his mate Sean Fitzpatrick. Maybe now Telecom/Spark can choose their own agency partners and restore their brand to strength with consumers.