Comindico CEO and staff ousted

Comindico CEO and staff ousted

Net-based telco, Comindico, promises a fresh focus on voice products after a strategic review forced the departure of 36 staff.

The company's CEO, John Stuckey, also leaves the four-year-old company after being unable to agree terms of a new contract. Chairman Barry Wheeler told ARN that the review and Stuckey's departure were two separate matters.

Wheeler said when he took over Comindico on January 1, he conducted a review and was concerned to find no strategic plan. The review found many roles at the growing company had become "duplicated" and there were processes no longer worth going forward. Thus, in the cause of efficiency, the jobs - representing 15 per cent of the 200-plus staff - had to go.

Wheeler said the company's new strategic direction would be new VOIP-related products, but he declined to be specific.

"We hope our wholesale customers will take the opportuntirty to act as channels," he said. "Let them grow as the company grows."

Comindico plans further refinement of its products and greater investment, though again, Wheeler would not specify.

"The board has made a committment to persue these products and clearly, the investment that goes with it," he said.

"We have only just accepted these plans," Wheeler said. "The financial plan was adopted this week. Strategies to go with them are just being edited now and will be adopted shortly."

Furthermore, the company confirmed the temporary replacement of outgoing CEO, John Stuckey, with former finance chief John Tierney. Comindico had been negotiating a renewal of Stuckey's two-year contract, but had reached an impasse.

Stuckey was on holiday and rather have him return to make decisions he could not see through, it was decided Stuckey would remain on holiday until his two-year contract expires in June.

"It was agree in an amicable way, that it would be better for him [Stuckey] to remain on leave," Wheeler said. "In the meantime, the CFO [Tierney] will continue in that role until a new CEO is appointed."

He declined to comment on reports that Tierney and Stuckey clashed on running the company.

This week's shake-up comes after a bumpy ride for the Sydney-based telecommunications wholesaler.

To date, the company has already soaked up $400 million of start-up costs, including $175 million of vendor financing from routing producer Cisco Systems and $70 million from investors in 2002.

Its two main shareholders include investment bank, JP Morgan, and energy utility, AGL, who supply boardmembers adding to three indepedent directors and Wheeler.

Comindico also faced legal battles with Telstra and only this February, launched its VOIP service, two years behind schedule.

It also had to cap its ADSL service in March.

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