Telstra hires Kevin Russell and … Stephen Elop?


news Telstra has announced two notable executive hires in its retail and innovation divisions as it moves to “simplify and strengthen” its core business.

Firstly, joining the firm as Group Executive Telstra Retail, is Kevin Russell, who Telstra said will lead the company’s consumer, business, stores and product functions.

Russell brings a considerable telecommunications and technology experience in Australia, the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, having previously held senior executive roles at SingTel Optus, Hutchison Whampoa Group, Hutchison Three UK and Hutchison Telecoms Australia.

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said Russell would bring “substantial expertise” to the role.

“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 managed major programs across national fixed and mobile networks and is well regarded in the local technology community.”

Russell is currently Chief Executive Officer for Silicon Valley-based tech startup Collinear Networks. He will report directly to Penn in his new role.

“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 holds a Bachelor of Arts (Accountancy and Computer Science) and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.

He will replace Dr Karsten Wildberger, who resigned in December 2015, and will take up his new position in late April.

Telstra’s second new hire is Stephen Elop, who will join the telco on 4 April in the newly created role of Group Executive Technology, Innovation and Strategy.

Elop will be leading Telstra’s strategy to become a “world class” technology company, the firm said. He will also report directly to Telstra’s CEO, and will be based jointly in the US and Australia.

Elop has previously held global executive roles with Nokia, Microsoft, Juniper, Adobe and Macromedia, including leading Nokia as CEO for several years, during which time he sold much of the company to Microsoft.

“Stephen will immediately add major firepower to our team with his extensive and deep technology experience and an innate sense of customer expectations. He is a recognised international technology leader and strategist from across a range of global organisations,” Penn said.

Elop has a Bachelor of Computer Engineering and Management, and an honorary Doctorate of Science from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, where he is currently Distinguished Engineering Executive in Residence.


    • How?
      He reduced the value of Nokia, was generally held to be a massive failure.
      Then he did the same at Microsoft.
      Are you guys really that impressed by these guys failing upwards? They’re symptoms of a diseased system.

      • yeah its like people lauding over MT and its ‘tech creds’ because of his ozemail days whereas imho he jumped on board a bandwagon and abandoned ship at an opportune moment nothing more.

        Elop’s list of recent adventures reads more like a horror story than anything

    • Kevin Russell is no better, while at the helm of Optus he presided over drops in profit, loss of customers and mass sackings of 750 staff.

      You really have to wonder what Telstra is playing at??

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