Yellow cuts 35 more jobs

Yellow chief executive Chris Armistead
Yellow chief executive Chris Armistead

Directory company Yellow has cut a further 35 jobs and announced a major restructuring of its business model.

The firm will separate its print and digital teams from August, as it continues its evolution from providing clunky phonebooks to more innovative online services.

The jobs will mostly be culled from the Auckland sales team. The cuts follow the loss of 125 positions early last year. Staff were alerted by a company-wide email sent this afternoon.

The proposal includes the creation of new regional jobs in cities such as Hamilton and Tauranga.

Yellow chief executive Chris Armistead said the latest round of retrenchment was not about cost-cutting, and had not been taken lightly. The decision was made to help the company's transition to more of a digital-focused company.

"I think this is the biggest, boldest move we've made as a company since we de-coupled from Telecom," he said,

The announcement brings Yellow's three-year transformation plan to a close and Armistead said he did not anticipate more job losses, although the executive team was always "fine-tuning" the business' strategic direction.

Armistead said Yellow was aiming to earn half of its revenue from digital channels within the next 18 to 24 months.

Its existing online offerings include basic website building and hosting, and some online marketing through a partnership with Google.

Yellow is introducing an "incubation unit" to develop, trial and launch new products such as mobile apps, more advanced websites and search engine optimisation.

Another unit will focus on building partnerships with third parties to potentially beef up the services provided by its online search directories.

Yellow is owned by a consortium of banks and lenders who took over the company in 2010 after it was loaded with crushing debt by private equity firms.

In recent years it has continued to turn a trading profit while slashing hundreds of millions of dollars off the value of its goodwill, brand and customer relationships.

Yellow was sold for $2.2 billion when it was originally split from Telecom in 2007.

BusinessDay.co.nz