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CEO of Spark Digital talks company rebrand

Sathya Mithra Ashok | Aug. 12, 2014
"August 8th wasn't the start of the journey; the journey started some time ago," says Tim Miles, CEO of Spark Digital.

Rebranding is never an easy exercise. And when you are trying to do that for an iconic service provider that has been part of the country's economic fabric for well over two decades, it is akin to a bit of madness.

Tim Miles, CEO of Spark Digital (formerly Gen-I) talks to Computerworld NZ on the reasons behind the company's rebranding effort, the underlying realities the name change attempts to reflect, the massive internal process changes it has entailed, and the future for the firm, as he attempts to prove method behind the Spark effort.

Q: Can you briefly explain the reasons behind the re-branding of Telecom and Gen-I?
Tim Miles: I am the CEO of Spark Digital, but I also sit on the board of the Telecom group. The reason for that is that the things that we have been doing are related and tied up with what we do across the board at Telecom.

We believed that we had an opportunity to be quite a different organisation, and around the time that I joined, we took two key decisions. The first is that we stand for NZ. That might sound trite, but it is not. Telecom has a number of assets and interests in NZ and overseas, and what you have seen us do in the past year or two, is exit a number of those.

The most prominent of those was selling off AAPT. That is not because we are exiting Australia, we are actually offering more services for our customers there, but we are looking to partner for them. We did exit AAPT, a well performing business that was sold, and we repatriated to NZ the best part of $500 million.

That was the first decision; we were all about NZ. And we think that is quite different to our competitors in the telco space. If you look at our largest competitor here, that has a huge global portfolio, NZ is one of many places in which it operates and the country's operations has to compete for capital and other resources in relation to some other growth market.

If you look at the IT side of the NZ market place, you have one or two reasonably strong local players, but most of the IT industry in NZ is actually -- that is many of the larger players -- owned by overseas interests. Again, attracting capital to NZ and investment into the country from some of those very large organisations is not an easy thing to do.

We have concentrated all our resources in this market -- that is a very powerful thing and a good thing for NZ.


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