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Telstra axes Elop and Bray, appoints Denholm as CFO

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Telstra has announced leadership changes amid its Telstra2022 restructure that will see 8,000 jobs axed in total, with CFO Warwick Bray and group executive of Technology, Innovation, and Strategy Stephen Elop among the first to go.

Former Nokia CEO Elop had joined Telstra back in early 2016, while Bray has served as CFO since 2015.

Also going are group general counsel Will Irving and group executive of Media Joe Pollard.

“I would like to recognise the significant contributions Warwick, Will, Stephen, and Joe have made to Telstra and thank them for their dedication to Telstra collectively over the years,” Telstra CEO Andy Penn said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) on Monday morning.

“We are fundamentally re-engineering how Telstra operates, and our new organisational structure and operating model are designed to remove complexity and management layers, decrease the focus on hierarchical decision making, and increase the focus on empowered teams making decisions closer to the customer.”

Bray and Irving will leave the company on September 30, while Elop will finish up on July 31 and Pollard will leave the telco on August 30.

Among the leadership restack are the appointments of COO Robyn Denholm as Telstra’s new chief financial officer and head of strategy, while Brendon Riley will be CEO of Telstra InfraCo.

Vicki Brady will continue heading up Consumer and Small Business; David Burns — previously from the Enterprise team — will head up Global Business Services (GBS) as of Monday; and Alex Badenoch of Transformation and People will “lead the T22 strategy transformation execution” including under the new Transformation Delivery Office.

These leadership changes will come into effect on October 1.

Michael Ebeid, Optus alum and currently the CEO and managing director of SBS, will join Telstra on October 8 to run the Enterprise team; while Nikos Katinakis, the EVP of Networks for Indian telco Reliance Jio, will begin work at the telco in mid-October to head up Networks and IT following the departure of group managing director of Networks Mike Wright at the end of September.

Telstra has yet to reveal its external appointment for group executive of Product and Technology, with the person to “drive an integrated product and technology roadmap for all of Telstra to deliver innovative and simple product experiences that lead the market and drive profitable growth”.

“At the heart of these changes is the simplification of our products and services built on new technology. By mid-next year, we will have fully rolled out our market leading products and services. To help deliver these changes, we are announcing a new end-to-end products and technology division of Telstra. It means we will significantly increase our technical capabilities around product development and management,” Penn said.

“The changes I am announcing today will ensure we continue to deliver market-leading innovation in networks and support the build out of 5G and Internet of Things.

“Ultimately, the simplified and streamlined structure will remove duplication, hierarchy, and silos across the organisation. It will help us improve the service that we provide to our customers, the efficiency of the business, and our competitiveness, as well as increase our productivity and reduce costs.”

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