The latest buzz around Telstra is that they have engaged a recruiter to start the hunt for a new CEO. This rumour comes hot on the heels of his two amigos, Greg Winn and Phil Burgess, returning to the US. Sol has now been CEO of Telstra since way back in 2005 and quickly became known for his ‘no compromise’ stance towards Government regulation.
The evidence that this policy has backfired on Telstra is now building, with Optus now looking to be in the box seat to grab the National Broadband Network contract by the end of March. It is quite likely that the contract will be awarded in conjunction with at least one other party, ironically most likely a group of ex-Telstra employees. That has to hurt a bit, especially for people within Telstra who were opposed to Sol’s strategies.
So what happens next? Well if, as expected, Telstra misses out on the NBN contract then I think Sol would be more than willing to use that as an exit strategy. Would this signal a change in direction for Telstra, or would the new CEO have even more incentive to fight the process every step of the way? I would like to think that they could take a more positive approach and focus on delivering the best wireless solution possible and keep competition in the market strong. I guess this would entirely depend on the Government and how they see the NBN tender winners leveraging Telstra’s existing infrastructure. I hope they have the lawyers and strategy in place, otherwise this could get very messy.