Home People Moves Mysterious Telstra CTO departure: So long and thanks for all the Vish

Vish Nandlall, former chief technology officer of Telstra, listed last year as one of 50 chief technology officers to watch, has left Telstra for mysterious, undisclosed "private" reasons.

Multiple reports have now confirmed the departure of Nandlall, who started at Telstra in August 2014 and has now left a year and nine months into the role.

The most logical sounding reason that all the recent Telstra outages would be a great reason to sack a chief technology officer seem to have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Nandlall's departure, as you might have initially imagined upon first hearing the news. 

Instead, the Australian was first to report Nandlall’s mysterious ousting, with suggestions of "plagiarism" and of Nandlall being under pressure within the company "for some time".

Details and more below, please read on.

However, the Sydney Morning Herald points to allegations in The Australian’s report that embellishments of Nandlall’s CV had taken place, with the specific words from the SMH report being "claiming to have an MBA from Harvard".

This allegation no longer appears in the report from The Australian, and Nandlall himself made a statement to CRN Magazine that “The terms under which I am leaving Telstra are private. I am returning to North America for personal reasons. Regarding the reported allegations, my CV is available through LinkedIn and is verifiably accurate.”

Telstra made a widely reported statement that: “Vish Nandlall has left Telstra after serving as the company’s chief technology officer for the past 21 months.

“Vish launched the Gurrowa innovation co-creation lab in Melbourne, led Telstra Big Data and Machine Learning research and development, developed an Internet of Things incubator to develop medium term consumer solutions and established our joint venture with Pivotal Labs."

While reports that Nandlall’s blog posts at the Telstra Exchange Blog have been wiped from history, the Internet Archive website has preserved some of the blog post titles and, in some cases, some of the actual posts themselves, as can be seen here.

Nandlall hasn’t been completely erased from the Telstra Exchange blog – a search for "Vish Nandlall" in the search area uncovers a handful of articles where he is quoted, including a video interview by "The Carousel", which you can see here with video and transcript

Nandlall’s previous description as chief etechnology officer is also preserved at the Archive.org website.

That description was as follows:

Telstra Operations, Chief Technology Office, Chief Technology Officer

“Vish Nandlall is the CTO for Telstra and a highly regarded telecom visionary. Wireless World recently named Vish one of the "Top 100 Wireless Wave Makers" globally. Prior to joining Telstra, Vish was CTO for Ericsson in North America.

“While there, he was responsible for defining Ericsson's strategy and technology in virtual networking and in-building connectivity solutions, establishing novel open innovation processes to drive business and feature requirements in disruptive technology areas. Vish started his career at Nortel Networks, during which he developed the industry's first distributed processing system for telecom applications, and pioneered high-availability technologies in shared disk computing.

“Vish is widely recognised for his contributions to the telecom industry, serving as a director and policy chair for TIA, as well as being a member of the FCC technology advisory committee. Vish is an active thought leadership contributor, most recently authoring a GigaOM featurette entitled "The 2020 Network”.”

CRN Magazine suggests that Telstra will look to Stephen Elop, former Microsoft exec, former Nokia CEO and now Telstra head of technology, innovation and strategy, to decide what to do next.

So Nandlall will return to the US after whatever mysterious alleged CV shenanigans and plagiarism are supposed to have taken place, with Telstra metaphorically telling its former chief technology officer, "So long and thanks for all the Vish".


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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.


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