Telstra restructures … yet again


Telstra chief executive David Thodey has again embarked on a major restructuring effort within Telstra, representing the latest in half a dozen such initiatives since the executive took Telstra’s reins in mid-2009.

This morning Telstra announced (PDF) it would be unifying its entire sales and retail customer service workforce in a single business unit, Telstra Customer Sales & Service, to be led by its existing retail chief Gordon Ballantyne and to be responsible for sales and service to all of Telstra’s market segments, including consumer and small to medium business customers, as well as those in enterprise and government.

The heads of Telstra’s existing business and enterprise and government divisions will now report to Ballantyne, whose title will become chief customer officer, while all marketing activities will be centralised under the telco’s chief marketing officer, Mark Buckman.

Telstra veteran Stuart Lee — who had been working on possible future structural models for Telstra, will now take over Telstra’s wholesale division, which will include a great deal of interaction with the National Broadband Network Company, and Telstra will also create an Applications & Ventures Group to lead its investment in new and emerging businesses in high-speed broadband.

“As faster broadband becomes available to more Australians, we expect an explosion in innovation and the development of new locally developed media-rich applications,” Thodey said in a statement. “Telstra’s Applications & Ventures Group will invest and partner with other companies and government agencies at the forefront of innovation to provide a new range of digital services for business and consumers, including in health and education.”

That Applications & Ventures Group will be led by Telstra’s current SME Deena Shiff, with the executive’s role to be taken by Telstra’s former group general counsel Will Irving.

Telstra also announced a number of other minor restructuring initiatives, including the creation of specialised teams to support opportunities in cloud computing and media, handing more responsibility for to day operations to its international division, handing responsibility for all ‘back-of-house’ services to Telstra’s operations team, and centralising ‘key internal business support functions’.

The restructure is just the latest in a series of such moves which Thodey has undertaken over the past several years.

In November 2009, as Telstra’s product management chief Holly Kramer resigned, Telstra re-shuffled its BigPond division and integrated its technology and networks division into its operations unit. Former Racing Victoria chief Robert Nason also came on board to assist with the Project New simplification effort.

In October 2010 Telstra went through a huge cull of 950 executives and middle management roles, as well as consolidating product and innovation into its chief marketing office, with product delivery being shifted into Telstra Operations.

And then just a few months later, in January 2011, several more senior Telstra executives — David Quilty and Michael Rocca — left the company, with a new chief operating office arriving from IBM, and a new unit created, Strategy & Corporate Services, under former St George chief Paul Fegan.

Today Thodey described Telstra’s strategy as “unchanged”, stating that Telstra was focusing on building a sales and marketing culture internally.

“We have made considerable progress over the past two years, especially in the nine months to March 2011, when more than one million Australians returned to Telstra,” said Thodey. “Today’s initiatives are further evidence that Telstra is changing by putting our customers first, building new growth initiatives, and simplifying the way we get things done.”

Image credit: Telstra


  1. “While I do not want to single companies out, I think it’s fair to say that Telstra at the moment is showing encouraging signs of a compliance culture in this area, which i’d have to say has been somewhat disappointing as far as Optus is concerned”. Graeme Samuel. Chairman ACCC.

    Good work David Thodey. Australia is the better for it.

    • What is your infatuation with always having to bag Optus Syd…? It’s becoming as obvious as you p***ing in the Telstra pocket!

      Neither has done the more precious than life itself TLS shares any good up until now…so!

  2. Way way too early to tell how Telstra is going at the moment or where its headed.

    The financial markets will be the arbiter. And right now they are far from impressed.

    While a million plus growth in mobile customers is a fantastic achievement (even if it was helped by Vodafone a little), the impact so far to Telstra overall is minor.

    Maybe just a bit more restructuring and it can get back to the original float price in 1997 of $3.30 !

  3. I liked this bit from the restructure announcement.

    “NBN Co will become Telstra’s largest wholesale customer by virtue of its agreement to lease Telstra infrastructure including dark fibre, exchange space and ducts for at least 35 years.”

    Not really what the intent of the NBN is for but Telstra doesn’t mind, largest wholesale CUSTOMER.


    • @ alain,

      Telstra are obviously going to put the best spin for Telstra on this…regardless of the facts (like someone else we know… hint , WAA)

      But in the end, it boils down to SolCo blowing it, losing Telstra’s monopoly, their vertical integration and FTTN…

      But NBN is still a more than fair outcome/consolation, since SolCo blew it…!

  4. What is your infatuation RS of always having to bag Sol and Telstra? My belief is that the truth will set you free, and now that Telstra is free of the opposition claiming devious advantage by demanding Telstra be restricted by insidious regulation we all (including you RS) will see the advantage of a powerful Australian company allowed to compete in the best Aussie tradition to the benefit of consumers and the consternation of opponents.

  5. Syd, sell the shares and start to think with your head NOT your wallet…please!

    My comment was in reply to alain’s typical FUD regarding Telstra looking at NBN as their customer…sigh!

    A G A I N, bagging Sol and you (and your refusal to let NWAT die) is NOT bagging Telstra… how many time must you be told…?

    AGAIN there WASN’T any insidious regulation… FFS, YOU are the only person on earth still talking such NWAT BS…! Not even Telstra do so anymore…!

    But I’m sure you are right and EVERYONE else (even Telstra…LOL) is wrong [sic]

  6. Thank you RS, and being ever ready to learn I will take your comments on board for due consideration.

  7. @Syd.. My prophesy…?

    Next time I mention you and Telstra in the same sentence… here are your choices of reply…

    1. What is your infatuation RS of always having to bag Telstra. Now that Telstra is free of the opposition claiming devious advantage by demanding Telstra be restricted by insidious regulation… blah, blah

    2. RS you are a disparaging and demonising opponent of Aussie icon Telstra, out for your own financial advancement.

    #2 is a classic considering why YOU comment!

    Let me ask you your question … What is your infatuation Syd of always having to support Sol and Telstra?

    Rhetorical, we all know…! $yd

  8. You crack me up RS, always criticizing and yet always pushing you own barrow.

    The die has been set (for the moment) for the NBN build so let us agree to disagree on some points and wait for the reality of the situation to develop and become apparent.

  9. $yd, I have no barrow…unlike those who have a shareholding and comment via their own greed…!

    I want the NBN for Australia and Australians, even ****ing greedy disgusting Australians (who talk via their portfolios) and their families…


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