Ringing in the changes: Telstra chief Andrew Penn to retire

Telstra’s chief financial officer Vicki Brady will take over as chief executive following the retirement of the company’s long-serving head, Andrew Penn.

Mar 30, 2022, updated Mar 30, 2022

The telco, regarded by analysts as a high-yielding and low volatile stock, has faced long-term structural headwinds after customers abruptly moved away from fixed-line phone services, the company’s former main money-spinner.

Ms Brady will take over on September 1, Telstra said in a statement to the stock exchange on Wednesday. She joined Telstra in 2016 and has held several positions, including roles focused on developing the company’s strategy.

Brady will be the first female leader of the company and was quick to seize on a media question about whether Telstra could maintain earnings growth.

“Yes, that’s absolutely our ambition,” she said.

Mobile revenue helped the company return to earnings growth in its most recent financial earnings.

Brady said there were extraordinary growth opportunities in the T25 plan and beyond.

However she played down any prospect of changing strategy.

“We’ve got our road maps mapped out. That’s business as usual,” she said.

Brady joined Telstra in 2016 and has held several positions, including roles focused on developing strategy.

She will begin the top job on a fixed salary of $2.39 million. However she has the opportunity to earn three times that amount if she meets targets.

Penn, who turned 59 on Wednesday, is one of the country’s best-known chief executives.

He has headed a blue-chip company that many Australians are exposed to through their investment portfolios and superannuation funds. He has led the telco for more than seven years.

“During his time as CEO, Andy has driven a focus on digitisation underpinned by a commitment to simplifying our products and services for our customers and employees,” Telstra chairman John Mullen said in a statement.

Penn joined Telstra as chief financial officer in 2012 and took over as chief executive in 2015.

He has overseen a difficult period for the company that included widespread cost-cutting and job losses; a measure many former government-owned telcos around the world have employed to compete in the modern, competitive market.

Telstra shares on the ASX were little changed at $3.92.


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