Optus Boss Walks, “Controlling” Parent To Blame?
Yesterday, the shock departure of Kevin Russell Optus Consumer CEO was announced. Mr Russell was in the top job just two years.
Insider sources say Russell found Optus’ Singapore-based parent company, Singtel, “too controlling” and was the reason he resigned after just under 24 months leading Australia’s second largest telco, reports The Australian.
The source said: “he just found the reporting methods to SingTel were too controlling. It was like he was only CEO in name, but because SingTel tries to tightly control so much of Optus operations it was more like he was a chief sales or operating officer.”
Last year, Russell openly admitted Optus had screwed customers and engaged in some pretty “crap” behaviour.
It is highly the conservative Singaporean parent found these comments alarming.
However, the Optus Consumer CEO himself denies he was pushed, insisting the decision to leave was entirely his own and has nothing to do with SingTel.
However, he has “no plans” for the future yet, a company spokesperson told CN.
Optus is actively looking for a replacement but the spokesperson refused to put a time frame on it.
Paul O’Sullivan who as Singtel’s CEO Consumer spends a lot of time going back and forth to Singapore, but will now be spending a lot more time in Australia until a replacement is found.
O’Sullivan said Russell’s departure was planned several months prior.
“Several months ago Kevin told me that he wished to move on to other challenges on completion of this phase, after ensuring an orderly transition that embeds the strategic transformation he has led.”
“Kevin has worked with our management team to roll out a number of positive changes to Optus,” including rolling out the new 4G LTE network, cleaning up the telco’s customer service reputation and improving profitability, with most recent quarter saw earnings, profits rise.
Russell served as Optus’ Consumer CEO and Chief Country Officer since April 2012. He will step down at the end of March.
He is also a Former Director at Hutchison Telecommunications Australia, half owners of Vodafone Australia.