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Spark New Zealand announces Chief Executive transition

Spark New Zealand announced today Simon Moutter has resigned from his positions as Managing Director and as a Director of the Company, effective 30 June 2019.

Spark’s Chair Justine Smyth said the Board of Directors have appointed Jolie Hodson, currently Customer Director at Spark, as Spark’s new Chief Executive with effect from 1 July 2019.

Ms Smyth said when Mr Moutter became Managing Director in August 2012, he had done so in the expectation of a likely five-to-seven-year tenure. Accordingly, the Board has been mindful of succession planning from within the business by giving potential internal candidates opportunities over time to demonstrate they have the right leadership capabilities.

“The Board are particularly pleased that we’ve been able to achieve a very smooth and professional succession arrangement, and in particular we are delighted that Jolie Hodson has been appointed as Simon’s successor. Jolie is an accomplished leader with a strong record of delivering results and managing complex business units and to be able to appoint an executive of Jolie’s calibre and experience is a testament to the quality of the talent within the company. She has had experience across most major parts of Spark’s business since she joined the Company in 2013. As Board Directors, we have had the opportunity to work closely with Jolie over recent years on a range of important Company matters and we have been consistently impressed with her business acumen, her strategic vision and her quality decision making. We are delighted to have confirmed a top-quality internal candidate, which speaks to Spark’s desire where appropriate to develop and promote talent from within.”

Ms Smyth paid recognition to Mr Moutter’s pivotal role in the transformation of Spark over the past seven years.

“In almost every respect, Spark today is a vastly different company to the one that Simon re-joined in 2012. We are New Zealand’s leader in wireless communications, with a rejuvenated mobile business across both Spark and Skinny brands, a promising Internet of Things (IoT) business and a determination to be at the forefront of 5G. We have made exciting plays in entertainment and sports media, we have invested in a modern, world-class technology stack and we are generating interest in our adoption of an Agile way of working from companies around the globe. We are making important progress with diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and our financial performance ranks among the industry’s best in this part of the world. And, of course, Simon led the way in 2014 with the bold call to rebrand the Company, hanging up on Telecom and logging onto Spark.”

Mr Moutter said he had become Spark’s Managing Director in 2012 with the expectation that he would drive a major turnaround of the Company post the 2011 demerger of Chorus and several years of declining performance.

“I’ve given my absolute best to putting Spark onto a positive track over the last seven years, so the Company can fully deliver on its purpose to ‘help all of New Zealand win big in a digital world’. I feel it’s the right time to pass the leadership baton on and I am delighted the Board has chosen an outstanding leader in Jolie to succeed me. I haven’t made any decisions about what I’ll do after I finish at Spark, other than committing the first couple of months to spending some quality time with my family.”

Ms Hodson joined Spark in 2013 and brings a broad range of experience gained through a number of senior positions at the Company. She has led major programmes related to Spark’s business transformation and has been a key driver of the Company’s growth strategies in business Cloud and IT services. Her most recent role has been Customer Director, with responsibilities across Spark’s consumer and retail operations, large corporate and government customers, and Cloud services businesses. Previously, she was CEO of the former Spark Digital unit and Chief Financial Officer – being recognised as New Zealand CFO of the Year at the 2016 Deloitte Top 200 Awards. After graduating from the University of Auckland, Ms Hodson began her career in New Zealand working for Deloitte and moved to Australia with the Lion Group in 2000, before coming back to Auckland to join Spark.

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