One of Australia’s most senior telecommunications executives, Kevin Russell, will join Telstra next month as Group Executive Telstra Retail leading the company’s consumer, business, stores and product functions.
Russell, who is 49, isn’t quite as famous nor as controversial as Telstra’s other big recruitment today, Stephen Elop, but nevertheless brings a wealth of telecommunications and technology experience in Australia, the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
He has held executive roles for SingTel Optus, most recently as Country Chief Officer and CEO Consumer, Australia, as well as senior positions at Hutchison Whampoa Group in Australia and internationally.
Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said Mr Russell would bring substantial expertise to the Retail role at an important time for Telstra. Mr Russell will report directly to Mr Penn.
“We are looking forward to welcoming Kevin to the Telstra leadership team. He has an impressive track record working for several of the world’s largest telcos in a range of demanding markets,” Penn said.
“He has passionately worked to build customer experiences in new and existing major consumer brands and service business clients. He has managed major programs across national fixed and mobile networks and is well regarded in the local technology community.”
Russell was with SingTel Optus from January 2012 to March 2014, holding the positions of Chief Operating Officer, CEO Consumer, Australia then the combined role of Country Chief Officer and CEO Consumer, Australia.
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As Chief Operating Officer then CEO of Hutchison Three UK, he led the provider from fifth to first in network reliability and coverage. As Chief Executive Officer of Hutchison Telecoms Australia, Mr Russell oversaw the launch of the 3 brand and mobile services in 2003.
He has held other telecommunications and technology positions in Israel and Hong Kong. He is currently CEO for a Silicon Valley-based technology start-up. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Accountancy and Computer Science) and is a Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.
“Telstra is committed to improving its service to its customers and to simplifying and strengthening its core business. These are key directions in which I believe my experience will be directly relevant,” Russell said.
“More broadly, the market transition to the National Broadband Network and accelerating technology innovation presents growth opportunities and changing competitive dynamics requiring nimble execution.”
Russell replaces Dr Karsten Wildberger, who resigned last December to return to Europe. Dr Wildberger will finish with Telstra on 31 March, with short term arrangements in place until Russell commences in late April.