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Spark targets tech frontiers with yet unnamed business unit

Creation of new, autonomous business unit drives leadership team changes at major telco
Claire Barber (Spark)

Claire Barber (Spark)

Spark is establishing a new subsidiary to focus on long-term, large-scale new business opportunities arising from a range of emerging technologies. 

Dr Claire Barber will lead the as yet unnamed unit, which will operate outside Spark's core business, as its founding CEO.

Spark managing director Simon Moutter said Barber had played a "critical role" in leading the transformation of Spark’s IT stack and digital experience capabilities.

“Having completed this transformation, I have asked Claire to step away from her day-to-day responsibilities as a member of the leadership squad, and set up and lead the development of a new business entity, reporting directly to me, to address similarly transformative opportunities arising from technologies such as blockchain, self-sovereign identity, artificial intelligence, cross reality, and hyper-scale/edge computing," Moutter said.

Barber will start with a small, focused team and build from there, he added.

Meanwhile, Tessa Tierney, currently leading Spark's managed data business, will be promoted to product director to replace Barber and join Spark's leadership squad.

Tierney joined Spark three years ago firstly working in senior business sales and marketing roles after previously having had leadership roles at Vodafone and in the not-for-profit sector.

In late 2017, she became leader of one of Spark’s “frontrunner tribes” that laid the path for Spark’s shift to "agile at scale" from July this year.

In July, Spark said under 200 staff would leave the company after 1900 were presented with new contracts as a result of the shift to agile.

Moutter said Tierney ranks as one of Spark’s most experienced agile practitioners and that experience is focused around product development.

"Her promotion is well-deserved and I’m particularly pleased that this represents another demonstration of how our new Agile operating model encourages Spark’s internal talent to be recognised and flourish," Moutter said.

From 1 February, Spark’s full leadership team will be: Moutter as managing director; customer director Jolie Hodson; finance director (CFO) David Chalmers; general counsel Melissa Anastasiou; HR director Joe McCollum; marketing director Matt Bain; product director Tessa Tierney and technology director Mark Beder.