Former Telstra COO to run NZ telco Chorus

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Former Telstra COO to run NZ telco Chorus

Takes helm in February.

New Zealand telco infrastructure company Chorus has appointed Kate McKenzie, Telstra's former chief operating officer, as its new chief executive.

She will take over from Mark Ratcliffe, the founding chief executive of Chorus, who announced in August this year that he would step down by the middle of 2017.

A lawyer by training, McKenzie is a Telstra veteran who joined the incumbent in 2003.

She announced in July this year that she would retire from Telstra after 12 years at the telco, the last three of which were spent leading its network architecture and operations as well as IT and field services.

Her departure came after a series of major faults and outages that rocked Telstra in the first half of 2016, spurring a $3 billion, three-investment into its networks.

Before joining Telstra, McKenzie served as chief executive in the New South Wales departments of commerce, industrial relations, and the WorkCover Authority.

McKenzie said at the time of her retirement that she intended to change career direction, and was looking for non-executive director roles, as well as mentoring young women and the start-up community.

Chorus is New Zealand's largest telco infrastructure company, responsible for building some 70 percent of the country's fibre to the premises Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) project.

To be eligible for participation in the UFB project, the company was demerged from incumbent Telecom New Zealand (now renamed Spark) in 2011.

Apart from constructing the UFB, Chorus maintains the majority of the country's copper phone and broadband. It operates as a wholesaler only and cannot sell directly to consumers.

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