Spark reshuffles management team

13 Mar 2018

Spark New Zealand has announced changes to its management team to support the incumbent carrier's moves towards adopting an Agile way of working.

With effect from July 1, current CEO of Spark Digital Jolie Hodson is shifting to the role of customer director, chief digital officer of platforms Claire Barber to product director, and COO of Connect Mark Beder to technology director. The company is also in the process of hiring a marketing director.

“In line with the timings indicated at last month’s interim results announcement we continue to work towards adopting Agile ways of working across Spark, with this announcement supporting our planned ‘at scale’ implementation in Q1 FY19,” Spark managing director Simon Moutter said in a company statement.

Under the new Agile working model, Moutter said, the company will move away from a traditional hierarchical organizational structure based around large business units exist today (Home Mobile & Business, Digital, Ventures, Platforms, Connect), and its necessary for the company to adopt an Agile way of working in its top leadership team as well and to that end.

As a result of the changes, Spark Ventures chief Ed Hyde will leave the telco by the end of June, while interim head of home, mobile and business Grant McBeath will return to his previous role in charge of consumer and small and medium enterprise sales.

“When we formed Spark Ventures as a business unit some five years ago, it was to accelerate our rate of innovation within Spark, by creating a focal point for the investment in and incubation of new digital services ventures,” Moutter commented.

He said it was always Spark’s desire that this culture of innovation could be “mainstreamed” over time into the wider Spark.

“Unfortunately, with Spark Ventures’ activities being integrated within the core of our new Agile tribe structure, we’ve been unable to date to identify a role that is significant and fulfilling enough for Ed - so unless things change he is expected to leave us by the end of June.”

Moutter said Hyde was the driving force within Spark Ventures which has invested in in 10 new digital services businesses including Skinny, Lightbox, Qrious and Spark's recent push into IoT.

Spark is considering accelerating its business transformation to strengthen its 2019 result. If the program is accelerated, then 2018 guidance may reduce due to the associated costs of change, Moutter said.

He said Spark is intended to operate under an Agile at scale model from Q1 FY19. In the Agile model, Moutter explained, business leaders act as catalysts, showing direction and setting up the systems for people to do their jobs effectively.

"The Agile model involves self-managing teams, each with clear accountabilities, who collaborate quickly and effectively with one another to deliver great products and services for our customers. It’s no longer about each team member being in charge of a particular business unit or support function, and ‘representing’ that unit at the top table," Moutter said.

"Rather it’s about assembling the right mix of skills, talent and experience to collectively make the big calls that will underpin our ongoing success across the company.”

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