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Former AAPT boss keeps lines open

Former AAPT boss keeps lines open

AAPT's former chief operating officer, Bob Hennessy, leaves the embattled Australian arm of Telecom New Zealand and joins BearingPoint.

AAPT's former chief operating officer, Bob Hennessy, has left the embattled Australian arm of Telecom New Zealand to become the managing director of BearingPoint's financial services business in Australia. Mr Hennessy began at the management consultant firm last month following five years as a key player in AAPT's push to take on the telecommunications giants Telstra and Optus. His move follows a period of significant internal change at AAPT after its $357 million acquisition of Powertel last May.

In April, AAPT chief executive Paul Broad, who moved to the company from Powertel, admitted that the cultural change after the takeover had meant a disruption to its retail services, which had negatively affected its consumer division by about $25 million. He said the "people aspect" of integrating the two organisations had not been easy.

"PowerTel employees are seen as 'boofheads' and AAPT as 'lovers' . . . I don't know what that means, but we've culturally mapped our business to find the right mixture of people - and that's not been gone about without some pain," he said.

Mr Hennessy said that he was still emotionally connected to AAPT and hoped to keep a strong association with the telco, as it was BearingPoint's biggest Australian customer.

He believed it was important for the Australian telecommunications market that AAPT progressed its attempts to be a vibrant and profitable competitor.

"Tough as it is competing against the gorillas, we achieved a lot of very significant things in my time at AAPT," Mr Hennessy said.

"Obviously now there is a new executive there and some shifts in some of the strategic approach that they have got to the market, but don't underestimate the passion those guys have got to make a difference."

Mr Hennessy's former role at AAPT has changed in the recent restructure and a spokeswoman for the company said some responsibilities now lay with David Yuile.

Before taking up the role as general manager of network and technology, Mr Yuile was a divisional general manager at AAPT, and before the merger, he was director of network and technology at PowerTel.

BearingPoint's Australian chief executive Charles Cochran said he believed its financial services business had huge potential for growth. He had been looking to supplement his leadership team with someone from a client-side, chief information officer background.

Mr Hennessy was already well known and respected by the majority of the local staff, having conducted significant work with them since AAPT engaged BearingPoint to work on a business transformation project four years ago.

Mr Hennessy said there was a huge amount of potential for new business in the financial services space as the major banks announce re-platforming programs or mergers.

There was billions of dollars of activity about to get underway.

KEY POINTS

· AAPT suffered significant internal cultural issues after its takeover of Powertel last May.

· Mr Hennessy says he is still emotionally connected with AAPT.

· BearingPoint sees huge potential.

Fairfax Business Media

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