'Duck hunting' season opens at TelstraClear

As one of the first signs of a "new broom" at TelstraClear Ltd., CEO Alan Freeth has set in motion a rigorous review of projects at the company, with some likely to face the axe.

The exercise, named Project Duckhunt, has been under way for at least a few weeks. Company spokesman Mathew Bolland says a completion date for the project cannot yet be given.

TelstraClear does not intend to discuss, even in retrospect, which projects are terminated, Bolland says. "That would obviously be information of great value to our competitors."

The Duckhunt exercise "is no more than you might expect when a new chief executive comes into a company". Bolland says. Projects are mainly being evaluated by their value to the customer, he says.

Freeth was not available for comment.

One industry-watcher, who doesn't want to be named, says it would be logical for the company to prune small projects against the distinct possibility of a single large project in the near future — a move into the mobile business.

Tuanz chief executive Ernie Newman says TelstraClear has been "remarkably silent and rumor free" since Freeth took over, and he seems to have been keeping a low profile. His first "official" public appearance is likely to be at the Telecommunications and ICT Summit in Auckland at the end of this month.

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