Fyfe adds Air Canada to CV

Waikato Times - - BUSINESS - JULIE ILES

Rob Fyfe, the former chief ex­ec­u­tive of Air New Zealand, has been ap­pointed to the board of Air Canada.

Fyfe was with Air New Zealand from 2005 un­til 2012. Un­der his watch, the com­pany was named Air­line of the Year, ‘‘New Zealand’s most at­trac­tive em­ployer’’ and ‘‘most rep­utable com­pany’’ by Air Trans­port World.

Fyfe was known by em­ploy­ees as ‘‘Rob the Knife’’ when he took over as chief ex­ec­u­tive and slashed hun­dreds of jobs, start­ing cuts just five days into the job.

Upon his res­ig­na­tion from the com­pany he was re­ferred to as a ‘‘rock star CEO’’ by a lead­er­ship ex­pert, and former union boss An­drew Lit­tle who squared off with him on job cuts called him ‘‘one of New Zealand’s bet­ter busi­ness lead­ers’’.

Air Canada chief ex­ec­u­tive Calin Rovi­nescu said, ‘‘We are de­lighted that Rob has agreed to bring his lead­er­ship ex­pe­ri­ence and deep knowl­edge of the air­line sec- tor and Asia-Pa­cific to the ser­vice of our com­pany and our share­hold­ers.’’

Fyfe will re­place long-stand­ing board mem­ber Joseph Leonard who will re­tire on Septem­ber 30 af­ter a decade with the com­pany.

Leonard was pre­vi­ously the chief ex­ec­u­tive of bud­get Amer­i­can air­line AirTran Air­ways.

Rovi­nescu said, ‘‘On be­half of our em­ploy­ees, di­rec­tors and share­hold­ers, I sin­cerely thank Joe for his strate­gic in­sight, ad­vice and con­tri­bu­tion to our trans­for­ma­tion and share­holder value cre­ation.’’

Fyfe is in­volved in the man­age­ment of sev­eral New Zealand com­pa­nies as chair of out­door ap­parel de­signer Ice­breaker, di­rec­tor of gov­ern­ment-funded re­search pro­gramme Antarc­tica New Zealand, and di­rec­tor of jew­ellery chain Michael Hill In­ter­na­tional.

He also owns a sig­nif­i­cant 25 per cent share in on­line wine re­tail start-up WineFriend, which de­liv­ers bot­tles of wine to cus­tomers spe­cially tai­lored to per­sonal tastes. A value war has bro­ken out at the top end of the mo­bile data mar­ket.

Spark last week slashed the cost of its high-end mo­bile plans and of­fered un­lim­ited data for less than $20 a week.

Now Voda­fone has re­leased its own range of plans with more data. It is of­fer­ing a Red+ Essentials plan for $79.99 a month with 22GB of data, or 10GB for $59.99.

2de­grees has also boosted its lat­est mo­bile plan line-up to of­fer 25GB for $70 with­out hot spot or speed re­stric­tions. The com­pany’s un­lim­ited plan is $129 a month.

Con­sumer NZ writer Ha­dyn Green said phone users in New Zealand and around the world were us­ing much more data on their mo­bile phones.

‘‘We don’t need more min­utes, we just want data be­cause ev­ery­one is us­ing so­cial me­dia, tak­ing photos and send­ing them to their friends.’’

Ser­vices such as iMes­sage and FaceTime also reroute tra­di­tional phone ser­vices to use data in­stead.

But Green said tel­cos had strug­gled to of­fer that be­cause al­though texts and talk min­utes were cheap to pro­vide, data cost more.

He said Spark had been able to find a way around it and its com­peti­tors had re­sponded.

But it was un­clear how many peo­ple needed mo­bile data plans that big. ‘‘I’m a pretty heavy user but I very rarely hit 1GB a month.’’

He said many heavy mo­bile data users also tended to have ac­cess to wifi net­works.

Users might only need a large data al­lowance if they were us­ing their phones to stream movies on other de­vices, which Spark does not of­fi­cially al­low.

He said $80 a month was still a high mo­bile phone bill, es­pe­cially if it was not a busi­ness ac­count.

Spark of­fers a $19 plan with 750MB of data, 200 min­utes and un­lim­ited texts.

Rob Fyfe

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