​Tim Miles and Rod Snodgrass depart as Spark announces leadership shake-up

Telco reveals number of changes to its leadership team.
Simon Moutter - Managing Director, Spark New Zealand

Simon Moutter - Managing Director, Spark New Zealand

Spark New Zealand has announced a number of changes to its leadership team, with Spark Digital CEO Tim Miles and Spark Ventures CEO Rod Snodgrass set to leave the telco at the end of 2016.

“I have been in discussions for some months now with various members of the leadership team about what they want for the future and equally what the company wants,” says Simon Moutter, Managing Director, Spark.

“We are ensuring we have the team ready to see the company through the next period of significant change as we strive for a return to growth.

“Some of these changes won’t take effect for several months but I wanted to announce them all together as a comprehensive package, to ensure clear visibility through FY17 and beyond.”

As outlined by Moutter, the leadership team changes are as follows:

Tim Miles, CEO Spark Digital:

Moutter says Miles will move to the next phase of his career and pursue opportunities in corporate governance.

“To that end, Tim and I have agreed he will move on towards the end of 2016,” Moutter explains.

“I have though asked Tim to remain connected to Spark by continuing as non-executive Chairman of both CCL and Revera. Tim has been in the thick of the action in this company – leading Spark Digital through a period of tremendous repositioning.

“His enduring legacy can be felt every day in Spark Digital’s customer-inspired culture and through our market leadership in Platform IT (Cloud) services – which the company wasn’t really a player in when Tim arrived at the beginning of 2013.”

Rod Snodgrass, CEO Spark Ventures:

In addition, Moutter says Snodgrass has indicated he’d also like to finish up with Spark but continue to be involved in driving corporate innovation and growth across a select range of New Zealand businesses.

Snodgrass has held many roles with Spark over a number of years including running Xtra and leading Telecom’s fixed line business; he was also the Chief Strategy Officer and the Chief Product Officer but according to Moutter, "really made his mark" in the past three years as CEO of Spark Ventures.

“Few executives at any New Zealand company have accomplished what he has achieved,” Moutter adds.

"Creating a number of start-up businesses and brands, innovating with new products and business models, developing new digital versions of existing products, and bringing a sharper digital edge to what we do.

“Rod’s efforts in this space have helped drive significant innovations and growth and position Spark as an innovation leader and Rod’s insights and advice are in keen demand from many outside organisations.

"We’ve agreed that he’ll leave Spark towards the end of 2016 so that he can pursue this path.”

Jolie Hodson, CFO Spark New Zealand:

Following the departures, Moutter says Hodson will move across to replace Miles as the CEO of Spark Digital.

“Jolie joined Spark back in 2013 and by any measure has done a terrific job as the CFO,” Moutter adds.

“She’s a significant talent for the organisation and a natural leader; she’s also a very commercial, customer focused and pragmatic executive who’s delivered on everything she’s been asked to do.

“I’m confident she’ll be an excellent leader of Spark Digital, taking the business to the next level of its evolution. Jolie will take over the reins formally towards the end of 2016, once the FY16 financial results have been delivered and communicated.”

New CEO Spark Ventures:

Moutter says he intends to select a new CEO for Spark Ventures from the internal talent pool within Spark and will be opening the selection process to a number of invited candidates in due course.

Page Break

“Spark Ventures has played an important role in our transformation to date and, as we evolve our strategy to “Ventures 2.0”, it will continue to be influential in setting the company’s forward-looking agenda,” he adds.

Mark Beder, Chief Operating Officer, Spark Connect:

Spark announced in February that it would be splitting the old Connect unit into two separate units (Connect and Platforms) and soon followed that with the news that senior Connect executive Mark Beder would be leading the new Spark Connect unit as Chief Operating Officer and joining the Leadership Team from 1 July 2016, reporting directly to Moutter.

“I’m pleased to see that David and Mark are working well on a seamless transition,” he adds.

Claire Barber, Chief Digital Officer, Spark Platforms:

Furthermore, Moutter has appointed Claire Barber, currently GM Change and Technology, to lead Spark Platforms as Chief Digital Officer.

“David Havercroft and I have been working through the details of what we’d like Platforms to achieve and we share the view that Claire Barber is a great fit for the Chief Digital Officer role,” he adds.

“Claire has done an outstanding job delivering the Re-engineering Programme and putting that new capability to work in a ‘digital first’ manner.

“She’s the best person to take the reins to deliver the next evolution of digital platforms and customer experience that will be crucial to our future success."

Going forward, Barber will report to Moutter and join the leadership team with effect from 1 July 2016.”

David Havercroft, Chief Transformation Officer, Spark New Zealand:

Looking ahead, the company is about to enter what Moutter thinks will be “another significant and very exciting period” of change.

As such, Moutter has asked David Havercroft, currently Chief Operating Officer, Spark Connect, to take on the role from 1 July 2016 of Chief Transformation Officer to help oversee all the moving parts of the next phase of the telco's strategic transformation.

“This won’t be a permanent role, but it will be an important role for a while yet,” Moutter adds. “David will continue to report to me as a member of the Leadership Team.

"As a very capable senior executive and leader, he will also play a valuable role mentoring and supporting members of my leadership team.”

Regarding a new CFO for Spark New Zealand, Moutter says the telco has identified an “excellent external candidate” to replace Hodson as CFO; and are in the process of finalising the details and will make an announcement shortly.

Once all these moves are in place by late 2016, the new Spark Leadership Team going forward will be as follows:

  • Managing Director - Simon Moutter
  • Chief Financial Officer - (To be announced shortly)
  • Chief Transformation Officer - David Havercroft
  • CEO, Spark Digital - Jolie Hodson
  • CEO, Spark HMB - Jason Paris
  • CEO, Spark Ventures - (To be announced on completion of an internal selection process)
  • COO, Spark Connect - Mark Beder
  • CDO, Spark Platforms - Claire Barber
  • Group HR Director - Joe McCollum

“Over the past four years, we’ve gone through enormous change in our core business, we’ve rejuvenated the company at all levels and we’ve transformed from Telecom to Spark,” Moutter adds.

“It’s required every one of us to step up to the challenge and collectively give our all; and the Spark Leadership Team has certainly done that. It’s been a privilege for me to work with a team of such calibre on this transformation."

For Moutter, leadership succession is something many companies grapple with, with the announcement showing the company's determination "to do this right" and ensure Spark New Zealand has "strong, effective leadership" for the period ahead.

“I’m particularly proud that the majority of the above moves involve the promotion of our own people," he adds.

"It’s a testament to the depth and quality of talent we have within the organisation – and this will continue to underpin our success as New Zealand’s leading digital services company."