Gattung speaks up

The Herald reports:

Former Telecom head Theresa Gattung has attacked the company for paying its executives much bigger salaries than when she was in charge.

In her book on a Wire, which goes on sale next week, Ms Gattung – who received a leaving payment of $3.9 million in June 2007 on top of a base salary of $1.25m – questions whether the current staff deserve such generous pay.

“Now that I’m long gone I, with the rest of the country, wonder about the propriety of a company making half the annual profits it did a few years ago but paying its executives considerably higher salaries.”

It’s a fair question, but there may also be a fair answer. One reason profits have dropped is because the Government has operationally separated Telecom to stamp out business practices which were anti-competitive. The reason the Government did is because it got so frustrated with the behaviour of Telecom under Theresa’s regime.

Ms Gattung told the Herald politicians deserved much of the blame for Telecom’s latest woes.

She said she predicted in 2007 that the Labour Government’s decision to give competitors access to Telecom’s exchanges, and to split the company into three divisions, would result in a “train wreck”.

Telecom may be struggling (for a number of reasons), but the sector as a whole is actually doing very well. The train wreck for me was the previous status quo.

In her book, Ms Gattung also reveals that former president approached her shortly before she left Telecom to stand for Labour.

She says she was “flabbergasted”.

Now that would have been interesting.

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