First blood: Telecom CTO falls on sword

The first Telecom blood has been spilt over the XT outage saga.

The company has just announced that Frank Mount, its chief transformation officer, has resigned.

The industry veteran (pictured), who has spent most of his career in his native US, joined Telecom in June 2008, after holding a variety of chief technology officer (CTO) roles at major US and UK telcos.

Fall guy?
Mr Mount began his career at AT&T in 1967, putting him in the near-retirement bracket. It's still unclear, however, if Mr Mount will serve as a fall guy for XT's troubles, of if there's more carnage to come.

When appointing Mr Mount, Telecom chief executive Paul Reynolds said “Frank has ... exhaustive knowledge of the full spectrum of telecommunications and IP technologies. This equips him perfectly to execute our long-term technology strategy."

Mr Mount replied with, “As a technologist it was a challenge I couldn’t pass up and I can’t wait to get started at Telecom."

Crisis meeting
Further developments are expected this afternoon, when Telecom chief executive Paul Reynolds hosts a briefing. The press conference will follow a crisis meeting among Telecom executives being held this morning, designed to formulate a new XT action plan.

Mr Mount's resignation was accepted by Dr Reynolds this morning and is effective immediately.

Telecom gave no reason for the resignation, beyond the oblique "it was in the interest of our customers."

Yesterday, Alcatel-Lucent country manager Steve Lowe also resigned. Again, no reason was given for his departure.

“In the interests of our customers, our team and New Zealand, I have regretfully accepted Frank’s resignation,” said Dr Reynolds in a statement.

Hospital pass?
“I am pleased to announce that CIO (chief information officer) David Havercroft will assume the responsibility for all network and IT operations from today and CFO Russ Houlden will carry interim responsibility for our Shared Services operations and Technology Strategy.

“I want to acknowledge with personal gratitude Frank Mount's enormous contribution to Telecom over the past 18 months. He has worked tirelessly and selflessly for our customers and for Telecom people. The successful delivery of Telecom's Crown Undertakings schedule on Operational Separation represents one of the most significant operational and IT programmes in the company's history and is re-shaping the industry. I wish Frank well for the future,” he said.

Telecom shares (NZX: TEL) were down 1 cent to $2.34 in mid morning trading.

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