Friday, 20 February 2015 09:56

Thodey retires – Penn new Telstra CEO Featured

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Andy Penn is Telstra's new CEO Andy Penn is Telstra's new CEO

After nearly six years as CEO, during which time he has overseen a remarkable turnaround in the company’s fortunes, David Thodey is stepping down as CEO of Telstra.

Australia’s largest telco will soon have a new CEO. He will be Andrew Penn, who will take over when David Thodey retires on 1 May.

Telstra Chairman Catherine Livingstone has announced that 51 year old Penn, who has been Telstra’s Chief Financial Officer since 2013, has been selected by the Board to be Telstra’s next CEO. His salary will be $2.325 million, with extra share-based performance incentives.

Penn is a former CEO of insurance company AXA Asia Pacific, and has more than 30 years’ experience in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and across Asia-Pacific in roles including chief executive, finance, strategy and other executive positions.

“Andy is a seasoned executive in global markets with proven capability to lead organisations through significant transitions and major expansion,” 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. It is testament to David Thodey that we were able to select the next chief executive from within the business.”

Penn said he was delighted to have been appointed CEO to build on Thodey’s transition of Telstra into a customer-focused organisation with significant opportunities in new businesses, domestic operations and overseas investments and partnerships.

“Telstra plays a critical role to provide leading technology solutions and service to our customers in the consumer, business and broader social environment,” he said. “The Telstra board and leadership team has developed compelling plans to 2020, and beyond, which will expand our capability as an increasingly global connectivity company and position us for future growth.”

Thodey, who is now 60, joined Telstra from IBM in 2001 as head of Telstra Mobiles and has served as CEO since May 2009, taking over from Sol Trujillo. Livingstone said he will continue to assist with Penn’s transition from 1 May until the end of the financial year (30 June) and remain 'available' to the business until late August.

Livingstone paid tribute to Mr Thodey’s tenure as CEO, during which the company’s value more than doubled from below $40 billion to a recent 14-year high above $80 billion. “David has been an outstanding chief executive for our customers, shareholders and employees. 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,” she said.

“David has also taken a significant leadership role in the Australian business community, particularly during his involvement with the B20 last year.”

Thodey said his time as CEO had been focussed on developing a strong leadership team. He said Telstra’s evolution as a customer-focused organisation and the completion of the NBN agreement with the Federal Government had been of historical importance for the company and the country.

“Our journey to being a world class customer service organisation is generational progress. We have achieved much change but there is a lot more to do,” he said. “We have provided customers with outstanding connectivity choices, a world class mobile network and new technology to make their lives easier. Andy is ideally placed to keep Telstra on that journey and I’m delighted he has been appointed.”

At Telstra Andrew Penn has been responsible for Telstra’s strategy, mergers and acquisitions, treasury, internal audit, risk management, tax, corporate planning, reporting and analysis, external reporting and investor relations as well as expanding Telstra's operations outside of Australia.

He is Life Governor and Foundation Board member of Very Special Kids, a member of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Advisory Council, The Big Issue Advisory Group and an Amy Gillet Foundation Ambassador. He has an MBA from Kingston University, London and is a Graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire. He is one of Australia’s longest serving and most experienced IT journalists. He is author of the only definitive history of the Australian IT industry, ‘A Vision Splendid: The History of Australian Computing.’

He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time weekly IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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