Spark New Zealand announced that Mark Verbiest, who has chaired the Board since December 2011, is standing down later this year and will be succeeded by current director Justine Smyth as the new Chair starting from November 2017.
Smyth has extensive governance experience, including as the Chair of the Audit & Risk Management and Human Resources & Compensation Committees of Spark, said the company in a statement.
Over Verbiest's tenure, Spark refocused itself solely on the New Zealand market and New Zealand customers, it invested billions in data network leadership to get ahead of demand, it invested hundreds of millions to upgrade IT systems, it set-up a Spark Ventures unit to lead the fast-cycle development of new businesses like Lightbox and Qrious, it exited seven businesses and invested in new ones, particularly Cloud IT through Revera and CCL, it partnered with a wide range of companies such as Spotify and Netflix, and it revitalised the appeal of all its brands, including the transformation from Telecom to Spark in 2014.
Consequently, Spark has regained or established leading market positions in Cloud, in IT Services, in local subscriber video on demand, in broadband, in wireless broadband, and most notably, in mobile.
Financially, Verbiest’s tenure has seen an 81% growth in market capitalisation, a total shareholder return of 145% and a return to revenue growth after 12 years of decline, added the Operator.