Howard: TelstraClear heading in the right direction

Rosemary Howard is to run Telstra's transition from legacy to IP telephony

Rosemary Howard will take up the reins as head of voice products for Telstra in Australia – a market worth $A8 billion a year.

Howard has stepped down following three and a half years as chief executive of TelstraClear. She was appointed after the merger of Australian-owned Telstra and formerly BT-owned Clear Communications.

Allan Freeth, a Kiwi and former CEO of Wrightson, will take the helm in April. Freeth has been on TelstraClear’s advisory committee for the past year and chairman David Thodey welcomed his appointment.

“Allan has a very good track record in leadership and customer service. During his time at Wrightson he led a significant financial turnaround, increased shareholder value, improved the organisational morale and took a prominent leadership position in the wider agriculture industry.”

Howard says she leaves TelstraClear at a point of transition, not only for the company but also for the telco industry in New Zealand.

“I’m pleased we’ve got momentum in the mass market as well as the business market but we’ve still got a long way to go. However, we’re on the right track.” Howard says the introduction of the Telecommunications Act was the first stepping stone on the road to a balanced competitive market but that New Zealand still had work to do.

“The review of the act is a good thing and the main points they’re looking at make a lot of sense. The review is very timely.” Howard says she has only one regret on leaving TelstraClear – that the company hasn’t been able to invest as much as it would have liked in the New Zealand market.

“Ultimately the regulator is the driver of market access and the review should push that process along. It’s high time we saw that in the New Zealand market.”

Freeth begins in New Zealand in April and wasn’t available for comment until he takes up the role. Howard will take up her new role in May and in working with the legacy voice products group will be in charge of the transition to IP telephony in particular.

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