Telstra hires former Nokia, Optus executives in technology push

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Telstra Corp. hired former Nokia Chief Executive Officer Stephen Elop to a newly created technology, innovation and strategy position as Australia’s biggest telecommunications company seeks global growth.
Elop, 52, will be responsible for strategy as the company seeks to be a “world-class technology company” and report to CEO Andrew Penn,
Telstra said on Wednesday in a
The carrier also named Kevin Russell, the former head of the consumer business at second-ranked Optus, as group executive retail.
Telstra is adding to its executive team after reporting a slump in mobile subscriber growth last month and as it has handed over its more-profitable fixed lines to a government-owned national broadband network. Penn, who was CFO before taking the helm in May, has described Asia as a key part of the growth strategy at Telstra, which spent $697 million buying Pacnet Ltd. to gain access to its undersea cables. “Stephen will immediately add major firepower to our team with his extensive and deep technology experience and an innate sense of customer expectations,” Penn said in the statement.
Elop’s technology, innovation and strategy job combines Telstra’s chief technology office, chief scientist, software group and corporate strategy and links them with product development, the Melbourne-based company said.
Russel left Optus, the Australian unit of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., in 2014. Telstra Corporation Limited, known as Telstra, is Australia’s largest telecommunications and media company which builds and operates telecommunications networks and markets voice, mobile, internet access, pay television and other entertainment products and services.
Telstra has a long history in Australia, originating together with Australia Post as a government department, the Postmaster-General’s Department. Telstra is now fully privatised and has been undergoing a change program to become more customer focused.
The federal government’s National Broadband Network (NBN) is causing changes to the industry and will see the company progressively sell its copper and HFC networks to NBN Co. Early in 2010, Telstra announced the creation of a $1 billion ‘fighting fund’ to be used in a concerted effort to win back market share in key product categories. This effort seems to have paid off with strong sales momentum announced in February 2011.

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