Telstra has added to its leadership team, with Kevin Russell, former Optus country chief officer and CEO consumer, and Stephen Elop, former Nokia chief executive officer, joining the telco.Russell will join Telstra in late April as group executive Telstra Retail, with Elop joining in the newly created role of group executive technology, innovation and strategy, commencing April 4.
Russell will replace Dr Karsten Wildberger, who resigned last December, and who will finish with Telstra on March 31.
“We are looking forward to welcoming Kevin to the Telstra leadership team,” Telstra chief executive officer Andrew Penn commented. “He has an impressive track record working for several of the world’s largest telcos in a range of demanding markets.
“He has passionately worked to build customer experiences in new and existing major consumer brands and service business clients. 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 a Silicon Valley-based technology start-up.
“Telstra is committed to improving its service to its customers and to simplifying and strengthening its core business,” Russell commented. “These are key directions in which I believe my experience will be directly relevant.
“More broadly, the market transition to the National Broadband Network and accelerating technology innovation presents growth opportunities and changing competitive dynamics requiring nimble execution.”
Elop will be based jointly in the United States and Australia.
“Stephen will immediately add major firepower to our team with his extensive and deep technology experience and an innate sense of customer expectations,” Penn commented. “He is a recognised international technology leader and strategist from across a range of global organisations.”
Telstra states that the technology, innovation and strategy portfolio will bring together aligned lines of its business, including the chief technology office, chief scientist, Telstra Software Group and corporate strategy, with strong links into product development functions.
“I have long recognised the Telstra team as one of the most innovative and insightful in the telecommunications industry,” Elop commented. “Telstra has a strong focus on its customers, and a willingness to invest in advanced products and services to best serve those customers.
“I am excited to be joining the team at a particularly unique moment of opportunity for Telstra.”