Sue Sheldon appointed independent Telecom director

Telecom has appointed professional company director Sue Sheldon to its board as an independent director.The appointment was unscheduled.Ms Sheldon's appointment is not a replacement. Instead, Telecom has expanded the size of its board from seven to eight.The company's AGM is scheduled in October. Spokesman Ian Bonnar told NBR no further board changes were anticipated at that time.

Telecom has appointed professional company director Sue Sheldon to its board as an independent director.

The appointment was unscheduled.

Ms Sheldon's appointment is not a replacement. 

Instead, Telecom has expanded the size of its board from seven to eight.

The company's AGM is scheduled in October. Spokesman Ian Bonnar told NBR no further board changes were anticipated at that time.

There has been some scuttlebutt among analysts that board member Ron Spithill could be culled in October. Mr Spithill is a former Asia-Pacific manager of Alcatel-Lucent, Telecom's partner in its disastrous XT rollout.

Asked in the wake of the fourth XT outage whether Mr Spithall's directorship was safe, Telecom chief executive Paul Reynolds would only offer that it was a matter for the board.

Suggested by Shareholders' Association
Ms Sheldon is based in Christchurch and also sits on the boards of several other high profile NZX-listed companies, including Freightways and Contact Energy, along with holding a directorship of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

“New Zealand Shareholders’ Association proposed to us that we consider Sue Sheldon, and we thought Sue would bring a range of additional skills that would complement the board at this time of exceptional change for Telecom," chairman Wayne Boyd said in a statement.

Shareholders will be hoping Ms Sheldon is as provocative as Telecom's most recently appointed independent director, Sachio Semmoto. Prior to his March 2009 appointment, Mr Semmoto called New Zealand broadband "retarded" and "pitiful".

Prior to moving into the professional director role, Ms Sheldon practiced as a chartered accountant. She is a former president of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants and was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2007 for services to business.

Ms Sheldon will take up her directorship from today.

Telecom shares (NZX: TEL) were up 2.12% to $1.93 in mid-morning trading, ahead of a 0.53% rise on the broader market.

Telecom's board:

Wayne Boyd: Chairman
Murray Horn: Independent director
Rod McGeoch: Independent director
Paul Reynolds: Director; Telecom chief executive
Kevin Roberts: Independent director
Sachio Semmoto: Independent director
Ron Spithill: Independent director
Sue Sheldon: Independent director