New Telecom Retail CEO Chris Quin takes shot at Vodafone, 2degrees

Quin took to a balcony when acting CEO, and won't return to a traditional office

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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."

Balcony life
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.

Investors positive
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.


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20 Comments & Questions

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The trouble with these ernest go getter types is they are so busy thrusting forward enbracing all the newest and latest, they always forget the vast majority mass modestly trampled over and scattered like litter and left with no one but some overseas call centre staff to try and tidy up. Telecom is having technical issues again and again and again and those in the cheap seats know it. When a standard phrase on the nerd forums now widely heard in the wild "friends dont let friends use Telecom" you know the company has bigger problems than they will ever be able to solve.

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I have been with Telecom for years. I know they had issues with XT when it was first launched, but now it runs perfect. I would not hesitate in recommending Telecom XT to anyone. Fantastic coverage and reliable network. I do not work for Telecom, just a very satisfied customer.

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worse still was the systematic dismantling of unions in the late 90s at tcom... anyone here who joins a union is gone in next weeks restructure

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How is dismantling unions a bad thing? Doing so improves service quality and price for every customer.

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and so they should. Unions are an outmoded model supported by people with no handle on, or consideration for commercial reality.

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spoken like a real right winger - Unions serve a purpose by providing checks and balances to unfettered management abuse of workers (such as what has been happening at Telecom for some time)....

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It amuses me Telecom's new CEO finds fault with it's competitors for being foreign owned. They have done far greater good for the New Zealand consumer by lowering prices than Telecom's lust for profits through expoitative pricing and anti-competitive behaviour.

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Telecom is also foriegn-owned. Was 82% foreign a year before the split, and probably hasn't changed that much.

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True, but only in terms of many foreign shareholders with single digit holdings - a different kettle of fish to one overseas shareholder taking a majority, controlling stake.

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he didn;t say foriegn owned, he said foreign headquartered.

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Good luck trying to trade-off parochialism for value

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I'm on Geekzone and GPForums all the time and never once have I heard that phrase.

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Everyone knows geekzone (in particular) is just filled with Telecom employee trolls. May as well just be a staff forum.

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"We need to leverage more that we are the New Zealand-headquartered provider," Quin replied.

Pathetic. Patriotism: the last refuge of the desperate?

Can't see Russell being too frightened of this lightweight.

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engaged staff - what a lot of platitudes and bull$hit. how can staff be engaged when they are constantly being restructured?? telecom has a shocking internal culture, just ask anyone whose worked there....

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@Anonymous 5

Russell should be frightened of regulation given the sheer amount of money voda is taking out of the NZ economy. Thir comms teams may talk up their network investements and employment etc but vodafone annual reports paint a picture of vast sums of moiney being hoovered out of NZ ot the Vodafone UK mothership.

What a shame the cardigan and walkshort wearing freaks at the commerce commission have so utterly broken NZ's telco environment....

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Good point and I am sure this causes him more concern than Mr Quin's appointment.

Any regulation (such as price controls) will hit TEL too so it wouldn't be good news for them either.

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Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel

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Skinny is Awesome!!!

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skinny who? As per usual Telecoms rubbish marketing and abysmal strategic thinking has let them down. SKinny is competing with Telecom prepaid and margin carnage is happening. What should have been a flanking brand is screwing the business

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