Name change sparks Telecom stoush

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 16:50 18/07/2014
Simon Moutter
A LOT AT STAKE: "If you can't leave your cynical side behind, free free to go and let it loose on some other company," Simon Moutter wrote.

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Telecom boss Simon Moutter has apologised to an employee he ticked-off for questioning Telecom's name change.

After the staff member questioned the change in response to an in-house article, Moutter said if the staffer was cynical they could "feel free" to leave the company.

But he later admitted that, on reflection, he might have been "a little short".

Telecom will change its name to Spark on August 8.

The in-house stoush began after an employee posted a comment on an article on Telecom's internal website about the brand change, questioning its value and saying there seemed to be "a lot of focus on the superficial and not enough on the vital".

Moutter posted a response saying the employee's comments were "cynical and pretentious".

"If you can't leave your cynical side behind, free free to go and let it loose on some other company," he wrote.

But in a subsequent post, Moutter "clarified" that he welcomed everyone speaking their mind and expressing opinions that were different from his own in a constructive manner.

"Diverse views, presented in a positive and constructive manner lead to better decisions," he said.

"But there is a line we shouldn't cross and none of us should accept judgmental criticism or outright cynicism. If you feel I overstepped that line in my response, then I apologise."

Moutter said he did not object to people "opting out" of changes he was leading.

"I do object to them staying on and continuing to be negative though, sapping the energy of those who just want to get on and make [Telecom] a great place to work," he said.

"I am simply asking everyone to make their own choices and get in behind the changes we are trying to make for the betterment of New Zealand and our customers."

Moutter added that there was a lot at stake.

Telecom spokesman Richard Llewellyn said the company stood behind the sentiment "that for Spark to be a success, it is going to be the attitudes of the people that matter".

Llewellyn said the original article about the branding changes had attracted 59 posts, many of them supportive.

It is not the first time Moutter has invited disaffected staff to leave the company.

Last year he sent a blunt message to staff saying that if any of them didn't like changes designed to create a "leaner, more competitive Telecom", they should "feel free to talk to the human resources team" about their options.

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