NZ Weekly Round-Up – Spark flags agile leadership hires as Gisborne Council details mobile coverage plans

(Staff writers)

Spark New Zealand’s nifty moves to reveal more agile executive line-up

Spark New Zealand has announced two key appointments, in part to underpin its transition towards an emphatically agile organisational structure.

Managing Director Simon Moutter said Spark had set out an ambitious brief for a new Marketing Director hire: “to find a New Zealander with high-quality international experience and proven creative talent and expertise in digital and social media marketing.”

“We have found that person in Matt Bain,” said Moutter. “Matt is currently European MD for AKQA – one of world’s leading innovation and brand experience agencies, with responsibility for 500+ employees across five countries.” Bain will be returning home and starting at Spark in November 2018.

Effectively immediately, Melissa Anastasiou has also joined the company’s Leadership Squad. She has been with the company since 2009 and, as General Counsel, has been a member of Spark’s wider leadership team for some time.

“More recently, Melissa has taken on a broader role through her work on Spark’s culture and Diversity & Inclusion programmes, as well as involvement in a range of strategic initiatives. I feel it is timely to acknowledge her talents by bringing Melissa onto the Leadership Squad,” Moutter said.

According to Spark, the Agile model moves away from a traditional hierarchical organisational structure based around large business units and instead involves self-managing teams, each with clear accountabilities, working together quickly to deliver products and services for customers.

“In this model, business leaders act as catalysts, showing direction and setting up the systems for people to do their jobs effectively,” said the company.

From this week, about 40% of Spark staff working in core functions such as network, IT, product development and segment marketing are forming into Agile teams.

“We recognised from the outset that Agile may not suit everyone, so we gave our people working in these areas the option of applying for one of these new Agile roles, seeking redeployment into another part of Spark, or opting for redundancy,” said Moutter.

“As at the end of last week, more than 96% of our people offered Agile roles have accepted them and we are continuing to engage with the few remaining people to resolve any uncertainties they may have,” he added.

Spark’s current management line-up is as follows:

Managing Director Simon Moutter; Customer Director Jolie Hodson; Finance Director (CFO) David Chalmers; General Counsel Melissa Anastasiou; HR Director Joe McCollum; Marketing Director Matt Bain (from November 2018); Product Director Claire Barber;Technology Director Mark Beder.

Gisborne Council lifts lid on plan to boost mobile coverage for rural region

Gisborne Council, which is working with the Rural Connectivity Group (RCG) to improve telecoms infrastructure in the region, has released specifics of plans to deliver improved mobile phone coverage and high-speed wireless broadband access.

Areas that currently lack connectivity due to the rural terrain, low population and lack of commercial viability for mobile operators, look set to benefit from the RCG – the joint venture comprising Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees, which is using joint funding from the Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative Phase 2 and Mobile Black Spot programmes.

“Improved connectivity is a key outcome to support the Tairāwhiti Economic Action Plan,” the Council said, adding it is helping to progress the project through planning advice and support.

Under the new rural infrastructure, all providers of mobile and broadband services are entitled to provide services to residents. The first phase of the project, the Council said, is identifying suitable build locations so services can reach the most rural households and improve mobile coverage on State Highways and key tourist destinations.

Meanwhile, RCG engagement manager Caitlin Metz said by 2022 the new infrastructure would see at least 30,000 rural homes and businesses benefiting from the rollout.

“That means 1,000 kilometres of state highways gain mobile coverage; and at least 90 top New Zealand tourist destinations will be connected,” she said.


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