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Moutter's infrastructure experience gave him the edge: IDC

Telecom has complex legacy systems to manage says former head of strategy for Telecom Wholesale.

Simon Moutter’s experience in managing infrastructure may have given him the edge in securing the Telecom CEO role, says IDC senior telecommunication research manager Peter Wise.

“There’s a lot of simplification yet to be done system wise, and I think he’ll have a good background in that and at least be able to pick it up, whereas someone new coming in, it would take them a year at least.”

Moutter, who is currently CEO of Auckland International Airport, was named the new Telecom CEO yesterday. Moutter worked for Telecom as it COO during Theresa Gattung’s tenure as chief executive.

Wise, who prior to starting at IDC two weeks ago, was head of strategy for Telecom Wholesale, says dealing with the complexity of Telecom’s systems will be among Moutter’s first tasks when he takes over as CEO in September.

“There’s a whole lot of revenue on disparate systems that have grown over a number of years,” Wise says.

“It got better under operational separation, but any telco has got loads of billing systems, loads of platforms with different technologies that are sort of becoming superseded but have still got customers on them. You never switch them off.”

Wise says Telecom has to get more proficient in its existing market before looking at expanding into adjacent markets such as media and content.

“They (Telecom) are not a monopoly anymore, so they’re going to die by the sword,” he says. “There is nowhere to hide, they’ve got to grow or they’ve got to make revenue, or they’ve got to cut costs.”

Wise says potentially there could be job losses as Telecom, which currently employs around 7000, as it “simplifies its products, processes and platforms”.

In an interview with Computerworld, outgoing Telecom CEO Paul Reynolds said Telecom “will become slimmer over time. We’ve probably lost, over the last year and a half, nearly 1000 jobs out of Telecom.”

Tuanz CEO Paul Brislen says Moutter will have “a huge job ahead of him in terms of positioning Telecom in the new market”.

“He's got to sort out staffing levels, which are far higher than comparable businesses; he's got the UFB migration to consider; and he's got to shake off the image of being Theresa Gattung's right hand man for all those years. Far be it for me to hold a man's previous role against him,” he says.

“Simon proved he can handle himself as CEO at Auckland Airport and has done a tremendous job there.”

InternetNZ CEO Vikram Kumar declined to comment on Moutter’s appointment. “On this particular matter, InternetNZ doesn't have any comments. Our interest is the continued evolution of the organisation rather than any specific individual.”

Yesterday Telecom would not say when Paul Reynolds will be leaving the company. “We’ll have some news on how the transition to Simon will be managed soon, but not today.”

As Moutter is still an employee of Auckland International Airport there would be no media events “until he lands”, the spokesperson says.

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