Telstra CMO out as telco announces group executive shake-up

ASX-listed telco announces executive restructure that sees as new product and technology division created, several senior executives depart, and a transformation office created

Joe Pollard
Joe Pollard

Telstra’s CMO, Joe Pollard, will exit the embattled telco next month as part of a shake-up of its executive restructure.

The ASX-listed company confirmed Pollard, its chief marketing officer and group executive for media, would leave Telstra on 30 August after more than three years. She initially joined as group managing director of marketing and media before the promotion a year later.

Pollard is one of four senior executives exiting Telstra in the coming month. Also on the list is CFO, Warwick Bray; chief technology office and corporate strategy group leaders, Stephen Elop; and group executive of Telstra Wholesale, Will Irving.

The news came as Telstra CEO, Andy Penn, announced a new organisational structure and leadership team, effective from 1 October. It follows the release of the Telstra 2022 strategy in June, and is being positioned as a necessary executive change in order to fulfil those promises.

The strategic overhaul will see up to 8000 employees cut from Telstra nationally, as well as customer plan pricing slashed and a new infrastructure business unit created. According to Penn, the aim is to simplify structure and cut costs while improving customer experience.

The new group executive structure includes the appointment of a new product and technology leader to drive a more integrated product and technology roadmap. The company said it had made an external appointment and would announce the individual shortly.

In addition, Telstra is bringing in former SBS managing director, Michael Ebeid, to run its enterprise team, and former EVP and group CTO, Nikos Katinakis, to lead networking and IT to oversee network developments and optimisation. There’s also a new CEO for Telstra InfraCo, to drive growth in the wholesale space, and a new global business services chief, David Burns, who previously sat within the enterprise team.

Current consumer and small business chief, Vicki Brady, who joined Telstra after more than eight years with Optus in early 2016, has retained her seat in the executive shake-up. Robyn Denholm, current COO, then becomes CFO and head of strategy.

On top of this, Telstra has created a transformation delivery office to spearhead its T22 strategy, and appointed Alex Badenoch to group executive of transformation and people, to oversee this team.

“Last month I announced the T22 strategy to the market and today I am making further announcements on Telstra’s structure and leadership to ensure we deliver rapidly and effectively on all of the commitments we made to our customers, the market and our team,” he said.

“Ultimately, the simplified and streamlined structure will remove duplication, hierarchy and silos across the organisation. It will help us improve the service that we provide to our customers, the efficiency of the business and our competitiveness, as well as increase our productivity and reduce costs.”

Specifically, Penn noted the creation of an end-to-end products and technology division as key to both increasing technical capabilities around product development and management, and driving innovation in networks through emerging technologies such as 5G and the Internet of Things.

“At the heart of these changes is the simplification of our products and services built on new technology. By mid-next year, we will have fully rolled out our market-leading products and services,” he said.

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