Telecom says Gen-i to stay

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 12:34 16/04/2013
telecom
JOHN SELKIRK/Fairfax NZ
DONE DEAL: Telecom CEO Simon Moutter says the telco will run Revera as "a standalone business" and keep its brand.

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Telecom has said its retail businesses Telecom Retail and Gen-i will not be merged, as debate continues over the tone of comments made by chief executive Simon Moutter to the company's 7500 staff.

A leaked memo written by chief technology officer David Havercroft said Telecom was proposing to split into "two distinct parts" currently dubbed "Servco" and "Netco".

Netco would have responsibility for network, technology and operations, while Servco would would comprise Telecom's customer-facing businesses; mainly Gen-i and Telecom Retail.

Spokesman Andrew Pirie said the memo had caused some confusion.

Gen-i and Telecom Retail would remain as separate business units and there would be no head of Servco as such, he said.

Employment lawyer Peter Cullen labelled comments made by Moutter to staff "pretty brutal".

Moutter announced a pay freeze and benefit changes, while forecasting smaller bonuses, and advised staff, "so if you don't think this is the place for you anymore, then you should feel free to talk to the human resources team about your options".

Cullen told Radio New Zealand that the "blunt" comments were likely to cause staff to leave, but speculated that may have been Moutter's intention.

"People won't want to work in that environment," he said.

Pirie said Moutter stood by both the message and its tone, which was "not trying to force people out the door".

He denied Moutter's underlying intent was to signal that dissent would not be appreciated.

"The vast majority of colleagues I've talked to did not read it that way," Pirie said.

"[Moutter] has made a point of being upfront with our people throughout this change process and the feedback from staff indicates the vast majority have respected this."

Pirie said Telecom would not comment on a statement in what purported to be a leaked minute of a February 28 meeting, that said one of Telecom's targets was to reduce fulltime staff numbers in its 1733-strong Technology and Shared Services business unit by between 20-30 per cent.

Telecom was unable to confirm the status of the leaked document. But he said that given Telecom's plan to reduce staff numbers by between 930 and 1230 did not encompass Australian subsidiary AAPT, it followed that job cuts in the other parts of the business could average up to 18 per cent.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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