New Zealand Telecom top exec resigns amid rise in profits

New Zealand Telecom announced the resignation of its chief executive, overshadowing news that the company's half-yearly profit rose to NZ$452 million ($310 million), an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said Theresa Gattung will resign as CEO, effective June 30, after seven years at the helm of New Zealand's largest telco.
Company chairman Wayne Boyd said the search for a new chief executive would start immediately and include internal candidates as well outsiders from New Zealand and overseas, the report said.

The report said the announcement came as NZ Telecom reported an improved fiscal first half net profit that was buoyed by the one-off sale of its majority stake in Telecom Samoa Cellular.

The carrier said a net profit for the six months ended December 31 of NZ$452 million ($310 million), compared to the NZ$466 million ($320 million) loss reported a year earlier, the report added.

The year-earlier result was hit hard by the write-down of the book value of the carrier's struggling Australian business, AAPT. Without the writedown, NZ Telecom would have reported a first-half net profit of NZ$395 million, the report said.

NZ Telecom said it expects to report a net profit in the 12 months ended June 30, 2007, of between NZ$875 million ($600 million) and NZ$895 million ($614 million), the report added.