New Telecom Retail CEO Chris Quin takes shot at Vodafone, 2degrees
UPDATE: Deutsche Bank's Geoff Zame told NBR, "Chris is highly regarded - both internally and externally. It was a gift horse for Moutter and very good to see a key role filled with an internal appointment."
Mr Zame has a hold rating on Telecom and a 12-month target price of $2.53.
Telecom [NZX:TEL] closed up 0.87% to $2.33.
A Forsyth Barr's iconic research Guy Hallwright (the first analyst to predict Telecom would win most of the UFB and switch to a buy rating as it sunk $1.90 in early 2011) has left the company. An alternative Forsyth Barr analyst approached by NBR said he did not know Mr Quin and had no comment on his appointment.
Earlier today, Gen-i head Chris Quin was appointed Telecom Retail CEO (starting October 1).
Telecom isn't commenting in much detail before new big boss Simon Moutter unveils his big new plan early in the new year.
That notwithstanding, NBR asked Mr Quin about his priorities.
"We need to leverage more that we are the New Zealand-headquartered provider," Quin replied - a not so subtle dig at the fact Vodafone is UK owned, its acquisition target TelstraClear Australian, and 2degrees majority controlled by US company Trilogy, which invests in numerous telcos around the world.
"Our priorities and focus are in this market and we invest here as top priority," Quin said. It's a snappy line - though there is potential future awkwardness by dint of the fact that, unlike the Kiwishare-protected Telecom of old, the post-Chorus company could be the subject of a foreign ownership bid.
"It’s early days and I need to work with the Retail leadership team to develop my priorities in detail, but this is a very exciting time to heading up Telecom’s retail business. The market is highly competitive and there’s new technology emerging that will fundamentally change the products and services that customers use. We need to be at the forefront of these changes and committed to delivering real value to customers in fibre and mobile."
The skinny on Skinny
Asked if he would reassess Skinny Mobile, a pet project of departing Telecom Retail CEO Alan Gourdie, Quin replied "No, skinny is a key strategy, just focused on its growth."
In terms of company culture, Quin said, "I’m a big believer that having engaged and motivated people internally will translate directly to customer preference, so that will be a first and ongoing priority."
An in terms of his own immediate cultural environment, Quin said he would move from his current balcony (across the way from his acting CEO perch, pictured), but would maintain a mezzanine desk overlooking Telecom's foyer rather than returning to a traditional office.
While Telecom Retail struggled in the company's most recently reported half-year, Mr Quin's Gen-i unit reported a 4.4% fall in sales to $1.36 billion, while lifting earnings 11% to $263 million as it squeezed costs and the smartphone segment gained. Investors will be looking for a similar lift at Retail - and perhaps for Mr Quin, who took a leadership role during the XT crisis - to be more front-foot than his predecessor.
Telecom shares [NZX:TEL] were up 1.73% to $2.35 in late trading.