Xtra axe won't fall for another week

Some Xtra staff may have to wait until next week to find out if they still have jobs with the 'refocused' Telecom Internet Services group. Xtra staff were told last Tuesday of changes to Telecom's Internet business and ISG general manager Bob Smith warned that there would not be jobs for all of them under the new regime. But individual employees - some of whom have been only recently recruited - will not learn their fate until they have all been individually 'consulted' over the course of two weeks. On the other hand, about half a dozen senior staff already know their jobs have been axed.

Some Xtra staff may have to wait until next week to find out if they still have jobs with the "refocused" Telecom Internet Services group.

Xtra staff were told last Tuesday of changes to Telecom's Internet business and Internet Services group (ISG) general manager Bob Smith warned that there would not be jobs for all of them under the new regime.

But according to Smith, individual staff - some of whom have been only recently recruited - will not learn their fate until after they have all been individually "consulted". Interviews began last week, angering some staff, who felt they were being required to defend their own positions at the expense of workmates.

A number of more senior staff have already been told they will not have jobs after the restructuring. They include publishing manager David Mair, who appears to have lost out to the marketing division headed by Ian Scherger.

Under the plan announced by Smith in a statement last week, media sales become part of marketing, and different parts of the content development division will be integrated into the marketing and access divisions.

In his statement, Smith said the group needed "to focus our efforts on the parts of the business that provide us with the best returns and are aligned to Telecom’s longer-term strategies."

Computerworld understands that market growth predictions made by consultants a year ago have not panned out, and ISG is under pressure to trim its sails and deliver a return. The revised publishing strategy is likely to keep on ISG's big-ticket items, such as the America's Cup joint venture with TVNZ, but media sales will be revamped and may focus on longer-term sponsorships over straight ad sales.

With at least half a dozen senior staff facing the chop, Xtra is undergoing its second significant management reshuffle in the two years since it was launched.

Many of the original team assembled by founding GM Chris Tyler left when he did, only a year after Xtra's launch, and some followed him to positions with Australian IT and accounting firm Solution6.

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