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High-profile challenger ISP Internode has made four managers redundant, in a move that has sparked online speculation that the company might be looking for a buyer.

In spite of repeated assertions over the years by founder Simon Hackett that the company could have taken plenty of offers if it wanted to sell, the speculation has been revived by the company making infrastructure team leader Mark Newton, DSL team leader Matthew Moyle-Croft, CIO Frank Falco and NOC project manager Andrew Walton redundant at the end of last week.

In a statement posted to the Whirlpool online forum, CEO Patrick Tapper said founder Simon Hackett will assume the role of CTO in addition to his duties as managing director, something which “formalises the role that Simon has consistently performed in the business”.

Perhaps to fend off concerns that the redundancies indicate a business in trouble, Tapper also said Internode is still hiring, with 13 positions still open in its “100-strong technology division”.

Meanwhile, the company’s regulatory affairs manager John Lindsay will assume the responsibilities of a newly-created role managing technical operations on an interim basis.

Newton held perhaps the highest public profile of the four that were made redundant, having become a public antagonist to Senator Stephen Conroy over the issue of Internet censorship in Australia. Although he always emphasized that he was making statements on his own account and not on behalf of the company, it was widely assumed that Newton had at least the tacit support of his superiors.

The challenges of the last twelve months, however, have created some stresses in the firm, with a highly-publicised change to its plan offerings – attributed to high wholesale prices from Telstra Wholesale – drawing criticism from users. ®

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