2degrees and Edwards settle differences

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 14:11 26/11/2012

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2degrees and Tex Edwards have kissed and made up.

2degrees said this afternoon that it had settled all its employment and shareholder disputes with Edwards and praised the man widely credited with creating the mobile operator.

That was after labelling Edwards a "distraction" to the business and attempting to restructure him out of his job earlier this year.

The terms of settlement are confidential, but given the nature of the dispute it is likely Edwards will have been paid millions of dollars.

Edwards would be leaving the company on "mutually agreed terms" and would remain a shareholder in 2degrees, the company said in a statement.

2degrees chairman Stewart Sherriff said Edwards had fought a lot of battles to get 2degrees off the ground.

‘‘Having changed the New Zealand mobile landscape for the better, we wish Tex the best in his next endeavour – which will no doubt involve another fight to get a better deal for Kiwi consumers, and investment of his own capital, in other start-ups,” he said in the statement.

The Employment Relations Authority ruled last month that 2degrees wrongly reduced Edwards' salary from $350,000 to $200,000 and backtracked on an agreement to provide him with share options in 2008, setting Edwards up for a $1 million-plus payout.

Still at issue then was whether 2degrees unfairly dismissed Edwards when it disestablished his job as "company strategist" earlier this year.

Edwards had filed a separate High Court action against 2degrees, claiming he was unfairly treated as a shareholder. That action has now also been resolved by the settlement.

Edwards said his role in helping launch 2degrees was "now complete".

"I will follow with keen interest – as an investor and as a New Zealand consumer – as the company continues to grow and innovate,” he said in the statement, which concluded by saying 2degrees and Edwards would be making no further comment on the matter.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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