Wellington, March 24 NZPA - A Japanese entrepreneur and telecommunications industry leader with a home in Christchurch is joining the Telecom board.
Sachio Semmoto is the founder and chairman of Japanese telecommunications company eAccess, and the founder, chairman and chief executive of Japanese mobile telecommunications carrier EMOBILE.
Earlier in his career he was general manager at one of the world's largest telcos, Nippon Telephone & Telegraph (NTT), Telecom said today.
Dr Semmoto was also previously managing director of Kyocera Corporation, before launching and building the major Japanese DDI Corporation (now KDDI), where he was joint founder.
His governance experience included board memberships at Reuters Founders Share Company in London and Silicon Valley company Network Appliance Inc.
He held a visiting professorship at University of California, Berkeley, and a visiting research fellowship at Stanford University.
Dr Semmoto was now a visiting professor at Canterbury University and had been a frequent conference speaker in this country, Telecom said.
He was recently elected as a Foreign Member of the Academy by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences.
Also today, Telecom chief executive Paul Reynolds announced he would be resigning from the board of eAccess in June.
"My decision to step down from the eAccess board is a purely personal one. I believe it is important in these situations not to have reciprocal governance relationships, and that's what my resignation will ensure," Dr Reynolds said.
During his five years with eAccess the company had helped re-shape the broadband landscape in Japan.
Last August, United States hedge fund Elliott International, which had a stake of around 3 percent in Telecom, announced it was nominating two candidates to stand for election as directors of Telecom.
The bid failed, with neither elected.
Among the reasons for nominations, Elliott said, was that the size of the Telecom board, at seven members out of a maximum of 12, was relatively small for a company of the size and strategic importance of Telecom. Within weeks of Elliott's announcement, Telecom said it was appointing Kevin Roberts, global head of advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi, to the board to replace retiring director Patsy Reddy.
Last month, British-based director Michael Tyler resigned from the board.
Telecom chairman Wayne Boyd today said future appointments at board level could be anticipated in due course.
"I have continually emphasised the ongoing process of board renewal, as the company needs to maintain a mix of skills and experience at board level that is relevant to the fast-changing business and technology landscape in which we operate," Mr Boyd said.
New director Dr Semmoto was a recognised global advocate for the importance of broadband as a driver of economic development and innovation.
"With Telecom now rolling out a nationwide investment programme bringing faster broadband to New Zealanders, Dr Semmoto is ideally placed to bring these perspectives to our board," Mr Boyd said.
"Indeed, he has long been a passionate contributor to the broadband debate here in New Zealand."
Dr Semmoto, who the Telecom board decided would be an independent director, lives in Japan and owns a home in Christchurch.
NZPA WGT mjd kn
Compare Credit Cards - Independent interest rate and fees comparisons for New Zealand banks.