Telkom Group CEO, Sipho Maseko says that the group deserves 8.5 out of 10 for the progress it has made over the past year.
Speaking at an event in Johannesburg on Thursday evening, Maseko said that on a scale of one to 10, his assessment of what the group has achieved is 8.5.
“People have been running very hard. People are busy… There is impatience around delivery. There are things we still haven’t fixed. The customer side we still haven’t fixed properly, but I think we will fix that.”
“We are in control, I really think we are in control,” the CEO said.
Maseko, a former Vodacom COO, was appointed as CEO at Telkom in March 2013, and has managed to steer the group back into a profit.
Earlier this month, Telkom reported an operating profit of R4.6 billion for the year ended March 2014, from a prior loss of R11.15 billion in 2013.
Headline earnings per share, excluding the once off items, increased 35.1% to 388 cents, Telkom said.
The group’s share price has also advanced on the JSE as much as 180% over the past year, with a market cap approaching R25 billion, from a lowly R8 billion last year.
“We are still at low altitude, but at least we are in control, we aren’t going to crash into water, into buildings, we kind of have the machine under control,” Maseko said
Maseko said that the group has created a new strategy to lead it towards success.
“Some of the instruments to get us there, we already have, and some we don’t. In life you can’t work with everything certain, you need to live with a bit of uncertainty. So some elements we are not certain about, that’s ok, at least we are clear. Every day feels better,” the CEO said.
Looking ahead, the chief executive said: “We think though that the headwinds we are going to be confronting are very strong. The economy is getting soft, disposable income is getting very tight, people will be making very serious choices about how they spend their money…you are competing with a lot of things.”
Added to that, are Telkom’s legacy woes. “We have let our customers down, we have let a lot of people down,” Maseko said.
He said that group is aware of the challenges ahead. “Our competitors are good, they are strong, they have brand momentum, and we are starting off with a deficit, but it is not an irreparable position that we find ourselves in.”
“It’s a great start, but its like a boxing match, 15 rounds, and we’ve just completed one round and we were not knocked out, its not like we won the round, but we were not knocked out and we still have to go for another 14 rounds. But we are still on our feet and the energy is coming back,” Maseko said.
“I really think this is our time,” the company lead said.