Thodey resigns as Telstra CEO

The man credited with spearheading the telco's customer-first turnaround will be replaced by company CFO

Telstra CEO David Thodey looks toward Asia.
Telstra CEO David Thodey looks toward Asia.

Telstra’s CEO and the man credited with driving the telco’s customer transformation turnaround, David Thodey, has announced his retirement after six years at the helm.

In a statement to the ASX this morning, Telstra confirmed its chief financial officer and group executive for international, Andrew Penn, has been appointed the next CEO. The transition comes into effect on 1 May.

Penn is a former group CEO of AXA Asia-Pacific and has more than 30 years’ experience across A/NZ, Asia-Pacific and Europe in chief executive, finance, strategy and senior roles. He joined Telstra in March 2012 as CFO and gained the group executive international responsibilities in May last year.

“[W]e must continue the journey to put the customer at the heart of everything we do. It really is our single most important part of our vision,” Penn said during a conference call this morning on his appointment.

“Andy is a seasoned executive in global markets with proven capability to lead organisations through significant transitions and major expansion,” Telstra chairman, Catherine Livingstone, said.

“He has played a key role in developing Telstra’s long-term growth strategy and we are delighted he will continue to lead Telstra’s plans to increase customer advocacy, core business value and capitalise on new growth opportunities.”

Livingstone added it was testament to Thodey that his replacement was chosen from within the business.

Thodey joined Telstra in 2001 as group managing director of the mobile division before switching to enterprise and government in 2002. He has been the CEO since 2009 and will continue assisting Penn until the end of the financial year, and remain available to the business until late August.

Livingstone attributed the rise in Telstra’s company value from $40 billion to above $80 billion to Thodey’s success as a CEO.

“David has been an outstanding chief executive for our customers, shareholders and employees,” she said. “His passion for customer service and instigating true cultural change has had an enormously positive effect on our company, which has been reflected in our financial performance in recent years.”

Thodey has been championing Telstra’s customer-first focus in recent years. In an annual general meeting late last year, he said customer advocacy is one of three strategic pillars and a core growth driver for the business.

“Our journey to being a world-class customer service organisation is generational progress,” he said. “We have achieved much change but there is a lot more to do.”

Thodey also flagged the completion of the National Broadband Network agreement with the Federal Government as another milestone of his tenure as CEO.

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