Telstra CEO David Thodey retires

Telstra's chief financial officer, Andrew Penn, will from 1 May replace David Thodey as chief executive officer.

Thodey is retiring, the telco announced this morning.

Thodey took the reins from former CEO Sol Trujillo in 2009, after initially joining Telstra in 2001.

Telstra's chairperson, Catherine Livingstone, said in a statement that it is a "testament to David Thodey that we were able to select the next chief executive from within the business".

Livingstone noted that during Thodey's reign Telstra's value had doubled to more than $80 billion.

During CEO Thodey has overseen a number of milestones for the telco.

These include the launch in 2011 of Telstra's 4G network.

Thodey announced earlier this month that in the second half of 2014, the number of 4G devices on the telco's mobile network had overtaken the number of 3G devices for the first time.

Telstra now has 6.7 million 4G devices on its network, representing about 40 per cent of the base, which also includes 3G and 2G devices, said Thodey.

The telco is currently in the engaged in the roll out of a massive Wi-Fi network.

Thodey was also at the helm of Telstra during the complex negotiations — and then re-negotiations — over the National Broadband Network.

Telstra agreed to structurally separate its retail and wholesale arms in order to pave the way for the rollout of the NBN. The telco has agreed to progressively migrate customers to the new network as it is rolled out.

In December the government announced that NBN Co and Telstra had concluded re-negotiating their $11 billion agreement. Instead of just shutting down its copper and hybrid fibre-coaxial networks, Telstra has agreed to progressively transfer these assets to NBN Co.

NBN Co will employ elements of Telstra copper and HFC networks, as well as Optus' HFC network, to deliver its 'Multi-Technology Mix' network.

Instead of relying solely on fibre-to-the premises (FTTP) for the fixed line portion of the NBN, NBN Co will use fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) to connect most premises and HFC in the areas within the Optus and Telstra HFC footprints.

A strategic focus on expansion in Asia has also been a significant facet of Thodey's time as CEO.

In December Telstra announced it would acquire Pacnet for US$697. Thodey said at the time the acquisition was an important part of Telstra's plans for expansion in the region.

"Our strategy is centred on serving enterprise and carrier customers doing business in Asia," Thodey said, announcing the Pacnet acquisition.

"We service these customers by leveraging our strong connectivity foundation to offer a portfolio of integrated network applications and services solutions."

“The reality for a company like Telstra is that we must become more and more involved in Asia,” the CEO said in 2013. “We just don’t have an option [not to].”

Thodey "has done a terrific job" as CEO, telecommunications analyst Paul Budde said.

"Great succession planning and well thought through transition period," the analyst said.

Andrew Penn

Penn signed on as Telstra's CFO in 2012. In May last year he was also appointed Group Executive International.

Penn previously worked at AXA Asia Pacific in a variety of c-level roles, including group chief executive, chief executive officer for Australia and New Zealand, group chief financial officer, and chief executive for Asia.

Thodey will assist with the transition from 1 May until the end of the financial year, the telco said.

"David has been an outstanding chief executive for our customers, shareholders and employees," Livingstone said.

"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."

Penn will receive an annual salary of $2,325,000 and participate in Telstra's short-term incentive and long-term incentive plans, the telco said.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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