Telstra hires Nokia’s burning man

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 16 March 2016
Stephen Elop

Telstra has made two c-suite level director appointments under new CEO Andrew Penn, including the hire of former Nokia-CEO Stephen Elop - infamous for calling Nokia a "burning platform" and ex-Optus exec Kevin Russell.

The hires coincide with a restructure of media and marketing execs under CMO Joe Pollard.

Global technology executive Elop has been brought on in the newly created role of group executive technology, innovation and strategy.

Elop has previously held global executive roles with Nokia, Microsoft, Juniper, Adobe and Macromedia. He was the first non-Finnish CEO of Nokia. In his time at Nokia, he was responsible for the “burning platform” memo that likened the company's woes to a man standing on a burning oil rig. It was leaked to the press and Elop gained global notoriety.

In July he left Microsoft after just 15 months leading its handset division.

Russell joins as group executive Telstra retail, leading the company’s consumer, business, stores and product functions.

He has held executive roles for SingTel Optus, most recently as country chief officer and CEO Consumer, Australia, as well as senior positions at Hutchison Whampoa Group in Australia and internationally.

Both Russell and Elop will report directly to Telstra CEO Andrew Penn, with Elop being based jointly in the United States and Australia.

On Elop’s hire, Penn says: “Stephen will immediately add major firepower to our team with his extensive and deep technology experience and an innate sense of customer expectations. He is a recognised international technology leader and strategist from across a range of global organisations.”

Earlier this month, Andy Bateman and Inese Kingsmill's roles were removed in a restructure of the marketing department.

It followed a restructure of its media business that saw senior execs, including former director of digital media and content Adam Good, exit.

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