After 14 years leading Vodafone's New Zealand business, Russell Stanners is moving on.
Stanners will be replaced by Jason Paris, who joined Vodafone in the UK in April as director of convergence after over six years at Spark, culminating as CEO of that company's home, mobile and business unit.
After joining Vodafone as director of business markets in 2002, Stanners led the company through rapid growth as a challenger to maturity and made some high profile acquisitions along the way.
Most notable, and challenging, was the $840 million buyout of TelstraClear in 2012. More recently the company has been trying to float the local business.
Rumours that Stanners would replace Sky TV CEO John Fellett have been swirling in the market for the last couple of months, speculation that Stanners denied. Last year, Vodafone and Sky failed to pull off a merger after competition regulator the Commerce Commission took exception to the plan.
The company said today Stanners had decided to step down as of the end of October 2018, with no mention of his future plans.
"Russell has long been a part of the Vodafone family, starting his career as Vodafone New Zealand’s first enterprise director in 2002," Vodafone regional CEO for AMAP, Vivek Badrinath, said in a statement.
"Since his appointment as CEO in 2005, Russell has transformed the company from a consumer mobile business to a digital technology leader providing fixed, TV, converged and mobile services to more than two million customers across New Zealand.
"I would like to sincerely thank Russell for his significant contributions to our business during his impressive career at Vodafone."
Stanners said it had been an incredible journey but the time had come for him to step down,
"I’m committed to leading our great team until October and beyond that, I wish the company all the best as it enters a new era,” he said.
Paris's appointment will be effective from 1 November.
Honoured to be joining @vodafoneNZ to build on the success Russell & the team have achieved. Can’t wait to help make the world’s best tech & digital services even more accessible to NZers & their businesses. Thanks to my family @RachelMParis, Sam, Will & Eliza for their support.— Jason Paris (@JasonCParis) June 11, 2018
Vodafone NZ has not lodged its 2018 results with the Company's Office, but parent Vodafone said in its report that New Zealand service revenue declined 0.5 per cent, with growth in mobile offset by pressure in fixed.
"We continue to explore a potential Initial Public Offering (‘IPO’) of Vodafone New Zealand," the report stated.
Meanwhile, Vodafone said its global service revenue performance was in line with target.
"This reflected above target revenue performance in Germany, UK, Italy, and most of our other European markets as well as Egypt and Turkey," the report added. "However, this was offset by below target performance in Spain, India, and New Zealand."
In New Zealand, service revenue was up 0.8 per cent with strong fixed performance and mobile customer growth across both consumer and Enterprise, the report said.