Spark boss Simon Moutter gifts 6000 shares to long-standing assistant
Spark managing director Simon Moutter has gifted 6000 Spark shares worth more than $20,000 to his long-standing personal assistant Mary-Anne Powell.
Powell has worked as Moutter's PA for about 15 years.
That spell started at Spark. Then she moved with him to Auckland International Airport in 2008, before they both returned to Spark in 2012.
The gift was disclosed on the NZX and leaves Moutter with 1.135 million ordinary shares in the company worth almost $4 million.
Spark spokesman Andrew Pirie said Moutter had chosen not to comment on the personal gesture.
Pirie also worked for Auckland Airport before coming across to Spark after Moutter was appointed boss.
Wendy Rapana, past president of the Association of Administrative Professionals, said she hadn't heard of any similar gifts being given to PAs and would be surprised if there was a precedent in New Zealand.
Tokens of appreciation tended to be limited to things like flowers, she said.
"I'd be green with envy. How cool."
But Rapana said it was not unusual for chief executives to ask PAs to follow them from previous employers when they changed roles.
"Once you are working in a position which is really high stress, you want someone who just knows exactly what you'll like."
Despite the onward march of technology, there are still just over 10,000 PAs in New Zealand, according to Careers NZ.
Employment prospects for people starting out are poor, but good for those who already have experience.
While PAs usually earn between $48,000 and $65,000 a year, salaries for executive assistants who work with senior bosses in large organisations can rise as high as $90,000 Careers NZ says.
The downsides can include long and irregular hours, and the stresses of dealing with managers in high-pressure jobs.