Telkom vet­eran mov­ing on

Whole­sale and re­tail to be split

Finweek English Edition - - Openers - BELINDA AN­DER­SON

THE TELKOM BOARD will meet shortly to ap­prove a new or­gan­i­sa­tional struc­ture, which could see the whole­sale and re­tail busi­nesses be­ing split.

This de­ci­sion, if taken, would echo mod­els al­ready adopted by in­ter­na­tional play­ers such as BT and Bel­ga­com (though tai­lored for the South African mar­ket), and would likely hearten many in­dus­try par­tic­i­pants who’ve of­ten called for Telkom to do so. A whole­sale/re­tail split for Telkom is en­vis­aged un­der the reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment and is con­sid­ered a step to­wards cre­at­ing two lay­ers of com­pe­ti­tion, pre­vent­ing cross-sub­sidi­s­a­tion of the re­tail layer.

The pro­posed or­gan­i­sa­tional change is one rea­son – al­though not the fore­most con­sid­er­a­tion – why 30-year Telkom vet­eran Wally Beelders (48) is mov­ing on from the be­gin­ning of April.

Beelders’s cur­rent po­si­tion – that of chief sales and mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer (CSMO) is a role that’s key to a tele­coms group, be­cause the in­cum­bent fo­cuses on cus­tomers. It’ll be filled by God­frey Ntoele in the in­terim.

But the po­si­tion of CSMO in its cur­rent form would be likely to be­come re­dun­dant un­der a new or­gan­i­sa­tional struc­ture.

Beelders says his main rea­son for mov­ing on is that he’s been ex­cited by the chang­ing land­scape of a dereg­u­lat­ing mar­ket and wants to take on a new chal­lenge. But he’s al­ready re­ceived a host of calls from in­dus­try play­ers who may or may not be able to “con­fuse me with an of­fer” in the com­ing weeks.

Al­though Beelders says mod­estly that he’d hes­i­tate to call him­self a spe­cial­ist at any­thing, he does un­doubt­edly have a few ar­eas of spe­cial­i­sa­tion.

It’s in­ter­est­ing that with his in­ti­mate knowl­edge of the in­ner work­ings of the in­cum­bent, set against the back­drop of a mar­ket that’s dy­ing to take mar­ket share away from it, Telkom hasn’t tied Beelders in with any sort of re­straint of trade.

Rather, CEO Papi Molot­sane said in a state­ment that Telkom’s loss would be the in­dus­try’s gain.

This is a seem­ingly ma­ture re­sponse from the in­cum­bent in the con­text of the need for com­pe­ti­tion to lower prices and broaden mar­ket ac­cess.

Ex­cited by the chang­ing land­scape. Wally Beelders

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