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Of course Simon will speak – Telecom

Eyebrows were raised when Telecom sent invites to its annual result briefing on Friday morning, stating:

Telecom's Chief Executive Officer (Acting), Chris Quin, and Chief Financial Officer, Nick Olson, who will discuss the results and answer questions.

No mention was made of new CEO and managing director Simon Moutter, who was appointed on April 23 and started August 13.

A Telecom rep later told NBR ONLINE "Simon will be attending" then, later again, "Of course, Simon will speak."

Telecom has always used its results briefings to look forward as well as back, talking strategy and providing profit guidance.

But by emphasising that Messrs Quin and Olson will lead on Friday, the company seems to be dampening expectations its new boss will make any big vision statement.

One will hope Moutter will have at least a couple of big ideas for shareholders on Friday, given it's now been five months since he won the big chair.

He has been in regular contact with acting boss Mr Quin and, of course, this is his second tour of duty with the company. As Deutsche Bank's Geoff Zame said, he should be able to hit the ground running.

6-month NZX performance: Telecom (blue) vs NZX50. Source: S&P Capital IQ. Click to zoom.

Meanwhile, Quin has been far from quiet, pushing Telecom's 4G mobile trial, and outlining Telecom's residential UFB fibre strategy (including a kick-off early next year, and a focus on content and other value-added services).

And last night, Telecom unveiled a killer new budget mobile plan, indicating a big push to regain customers (at its last briefing, it lost 180,000 customers).

Investors will be looking for more detail in those two key areas, especially Vodafone's pending takeover of TelstraClear.

Telecom 12-month NZX performance. Chorus was split off in Nov 11. Source: S&P Capital IQ. Click to zoom.

Telecom (blue) vs Chorus. Index: November split = 100. Source: S&P Capital IQ. Click to zoom.

The fact Mr Quin will lead the session indicates the unsuccessful CEO candidate will be stickng around, at least for a while.

A second unsuccessful candidate, Telecom Retail chief executive Alan Gourdie, has already resigned.

A lot more change will be ahead. But don't look for a lot of it to be announced on Friday.

It will be Telecom's first half-year report since network/wholesale division Chorus was spun off, leaving the company as just another retailer.

Analysts are expecting net earnings at the top end of Telecom's guidance ($160 -$190 million). Read more analyst preview comment here.

Telecom 5-year NZX performance. Source: S&P Capital IQ. Click to zoom.

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Comments and questions

Yes, Moutter will hit the ground running.

First thing he should do is bring back Teresa Gattung - the two ran Telecom into the ground.

They were certainly very good at running things at Telecom into the ground - at the expense of shareholders.

Can you add Telecom versus Chorus chart?


Chris says:

"One will hope Moutter will have at least a couple of big ideas for shareholders on Friday, given it's now been five months since he won the big chair."

Thats a bit unfair really Chris, given that Moutter was actually doing another reasonably large job during that five month period, and that if he came into Telecom in his first few weeks with a pre-determined view of where Telecom needs to be heading based on his prior experience there, he would likely (and rightly) be criticised.

Give him a chance.

Nothing unfair - he was appointed (despite being one of the gang of three who stuffed Telecom up prior to 2009) on the basis that he would "hit the ground running."

Same ground he ran Telecom into.

On the other hand, it might behoove him to take a leaf out of Lou Gerstner's book and spend some time listening and learning rather than coming with half-baked preconceived ideas.

everyone loves a good shirker. The time these people get the top jobs and actually start is ridiculous, it is always weighted in their favour.

This is actually better news than I expected. Munter is not as dumb as we thought. True to promises, he has 'hit the deck running', but isn't stupid enough to raise his head, scramble up and walk about until he has dumped the Brogue Rogue's mess firmly with the acting boss.
Please accept, he would have to be a total Dr 'Dick' Smith (ETS, leaky homes, ACC etc) to do worse than his two previous full-time predecessors.
My budgie could achieve that too.

Let's put it this way - if Simon is to "run Telecom into the ground" as some commentators have put it, then the responsibility for that should rest on the shoulders of the Board as well, since they're the ones who appointed him. Given that it would not be financially prudent for them to hire someone to deplete their profit-stake, then at least this should serve as some indication that we're on a more positive track. As for Simon's taking over the reins at Telecom, he's only started little over a week and a half ago - that being said, he's made a great starting effort by engaging all employees and asking them for their ideas on the direction and future the company should take. Give the man a chance, or even half a chance. Once he's been in the big chair for at least 1 financial year, then judge him based on that performance.

He may have won the job 5 months ago, but he only started last week! sheesh cut the guy a break!.

You do realise that I make most of what I say up.....and talk through a hole in my >AHEM!<