Spark NZ appoints Anastasiou, newly-hired Bain to leadership squad

Spark NZ appoints Melissa Anastasiou to its so-called leadership squad. Photo: Lynn Grieveson

Spark New Zealand, the country's biggest telecommunications company, said it appointed Melissa Anastasiou to its so-called leadership squad, effective immediately, while it also hired Matt Bain, who starts as marketing director, a newly-created role, in November.

With the additions of Bain and Anastasiou, Spark’s leadership squad will be made up of eight people, the Auckland-based company said. The revamp is part of Spark’s move, dubbed Agile, away from a traditional hierarchical organisational structure based around large business units towards self-managing teams, each with clear accountabilities, who collaborate quickly and effectively with one another, the company said.

The company’s Agile restructure has drawn mixed reviews.

From this week, about 40 percent of Spark’s employees in core functions such as network, IT, product development and segment marketing are forming into Agile teams, the company said.

“We recognised from the outset that Agile may not suit everyone, so we gave our people working in these areas the option of applying for one of these new Agile roles, seeking redeployment into another part of Spark, or opting for redundancy,” Spark managing director Simon Moutter said in the statement.

“As at the end of last week, more than 96 percent of our people offered Agile roles have accepted them and we are continuing to engage with the few remaining people to resolve any uncertainties they may have,” according to Moutter.

Bain is currently European managing director for AKQA, an innovation and brand experience agency, and has built an “impeccable international reputation” with some of the world’s greatest brands including Nike, Heineken, Mini, Rolls Royce and Siemens, Moutter said.

“In this new role, Matt will bring his outstanding digital marketing and customer experience skills right into the centre of our thinking and actions,” Moutter said.

A New Zealander, Bain will be returning home with his family later this year, the company said.

Melissa Anastasiou, Spark’s general counsel, has been with the company since 2009, it said.

“More recently, Melissa has taken on a broader role through her work on Spark’s culture and diversity & inclusion programmes, as well as involvement in a range of strategic initiatives,” according to Moutter. “I feel it is timely to acknowledge her talents by bringing Melissa onto the leadership squad.”

The stock closed at $3.73 on Friday. It’s gained almost 6 percent in the past year, lagging behind a 17.5 percent gain for the S&P/NZX Index in the same period.