De Castro exits Vocus following consumer and SMB restructure

Former CMO exits as the ASX-listed telco unites its ailing consumer and SMB businesses in order to drive operational efficiencies

Vocus GM of consumer and former NAB CMO, Sandra de Castro, has left the ASX-listed telco as part of a restructure to unite its consumer and SMB businesses.

The former marketing chief took up the GM of consumer reins in January after spending just one year with AGL, where she oversaw marketing, sales, consumer sales and loyalty teams and was tasked with spearheading digital transformation initiatives. Prior to this, she spent four years as the CMO of NAB, a role which also saw her leading the banking group’s customer value proposition transformation.

De Castro’s appointment at Vocus was part of a new-look management structure introduced earlier this year. However, the telco yesterday announced it was now restructuring in order to better realise operational efficiencies across its consumer and legacy Commander SMB businesses.

As part of the restructure, the two divisions are being brought under the leadership of Anthony de Jong, who joined Vocus last September to head up the Commander SMB business. In a statement, the company said several roles were being removed as a result, including de Castro’s, along with the head of finance.

“The consumer and Commander businesses within Vocus Group are distinct businesses servicing specialised customer segments. However, there are operational similarities that drive commercial logic in managing them together,” the company stated.

The statement also said a key focus for Vocus over recent months has been leadership renewal, “bringing in key executives where there were gaps”. This was another reason for removing several roles as part of the new structure.

In an AGM presentation in October, Vocus chairman, Bob Mansfield, said the group’s consumer segment continued to struggle in a competitive environment disrupted by the National Broadband Network (NBN). Vocus relaunched its consumer brand, Dodo, in August, one step in a comprehensive transformation plan that will also see the group aggressively digitise its consumer engagement and services support.

“While we maintained our market share of 7 per cent, significant work needs to be done to transition this business to a new digitally enabled, low-cost model,” Mansfield stated.

The performance of Commander, however, was clearly described as “very disappointing”. The division reported a 15 per cent revenue decline in FY18, resulting in an 11 per cent drop in underlying EBIDTA.

“The long-term sustainability of this business has been compromised by a lack of focus and investment,” Mansfield said. “Urgent remedial action is required to address the decline we are experiencing in this business.”

Alongside de Jong’s appointment recent arrival, Vocus CEO, Kevin Russell, highlighted  the elevation of Matt Wash to the executive role of chief customer officer, as another step in a new-look leadership team focused on turning the business’ fortunes around.

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