A visceral post here by Lance criticising Telecom – the gist of the post is Telecom should learn (again) to walk before it tries to run.

This in response to the news that Telecom will seek a replacement CFO for Marko who has,

“…experience in mergers and acquisition so it can take advantage of consolidation in the telecommunications market …”

I agree entirely with Lance but his post begs a number of questions. Bear in mind that this is not some fresh out of the blocks startup but a well established, well capitalised (well not as well as prior to the Gattung debacle but that’s another story), well resourced enterprise.

  • Telecom has more MBA’s LLB’s and BCom’s than most organisations, can they really not decide on a good M&A with the existing crop of talent?
  • Given the number of BE’s evident in Telecoms buildings, surely they can engineer solutions which don’t display the problems we’ve seen in the last few days
  • Why is it that Telecom seems unable to both do the core business and do the business of being in business? Most businesses of the small size are either good at their core skills but poor at non-core but general business tasks. Most big businesses have the luxury of affording both the engineering and the business brains to fulfil both sides of the equation. Telecom seems to be faltering on both counts

Bottom line – it’s a failure of leadership and this is where the new CEO needs to get in quick and wreak some havoc. Change the culture, change the teams, mix things up and hopefully come out the other end with a business that works. ‘Cos it sure seems dysfunctional right now…

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

  • Another bottomline to think about is Telecom is where it is because it’s had very little pressure to do anything but maintain status quo. In fact, the only pressure was to maintain status quo.

    Really, I don’t know where Gattung could possibly go after this. Her job in the realm of CEO positions was pretty simple. Protect the monopoly and squeeze the most profits out of it as possible while you can. In that sense she did not fail. However, in doing so she hardly prepared the company for any sort of competitive future for when the death grip would eventually be pried open. Could she really be at the helm of a company in a competitive marketplace?

    Alas, the ship she is leaving is now having to deal with a massive re-gearing for just that environment.

    The company could make an interesting case study in complacency for MBAs.

    They only did it because they could.

  • The main problem with the likes of Telecom is that they are driven by very narrow imperatives- create huge dividends year in year out..no ifs.. no buts.they attract ” accountants and financial types – the ones who pulled wings off flies at school..the soulless ones who mascarade as marketing and sales people. Having had largely an offshore ” god bless america” main shareholding group, through a period where NZ’s competition and takeover rules have been wanting, has lead to ” loot and pillage campaign” for as long as the government allows. In reality there is little difference between the way Telecom, Voda, the energy companies, AIAL, and many other natural monopolies behave. You put a bunch of smart bureaucratics in charge of making 30 – 40% of their personal annual income, through development of strategies that create ” superprofits” then that is what they will do. Is Fronterra behaving any differently -not likely. until there is an ethical debate then little will change. the government doesnt help by knowing very little about business and attracting smart enough candidates to government who can shape the economy such that there is real competition and or where the government owns a good chunk of these monopolies and can exert some influence and or get some dividends…

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