Although he has been in the role unofficially for at least a month, Geni-i boss Chris Quin formally took over last week as Acting CEO of Telecom for a couple of months, between Paul Reynolds’ departure last Friday and Simon Moutter’s arrival on 1 September.
It’s not unusual to appoint a senior executive into the Acting CEO’s role. But this is the first time I can remember a board appointing someone known to have been a candidate for the role, and one who publicly acknowledged his “disappointment” at having missed out, when he sent a note to his employees on the announcement of Mr Moutter’s appointment.
I know nothing of the Board’s thinking on this, but this seems an unusual strategy: “Chris, here’s the prize you really wanted. Try the seat for a couple of months. Once you get comfortable and used to it, we’ll snatch it back from you.”
On the other hand, there’s always a risk for a Board that values and wants to retain a senior executive who has failed to win the top job: importing an outsider for a short time, over the head of Chris and any other internal candidates who also missed out, might have been an even greater risk.
I have great respect for the Telecom Board, and its Chair Mark Verbiest ... which makes me wonder whether he doesn’t have a rather more devious plan: “Here, Chris, try the hot seat for a couple of months: by that time, I think you’ll realise you’re having much more fun where you are.”
Regardless of what the Board was thinking, let’s wish Chris well in his brief tenancy of the Corner Office at Telecom.
I chair the NZ Telecommunications Forum, the technical working body of the industry. This role does not involve direct interaction with either the board or executive leadership of any of the main telcos and the opinions in today's musing are based solely on my own observations after reading publicly available information.