Optus execs adopt regional outlook

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Optus execs adopt regional outlook

Restructure around three 'global' business units.

Optus has announced a major restructure of its local business under three newly-created 'global' units.

The telco will divide into three major divisions - consumer, digital life and ICT - from April 1 this year, with each unit's local head reporting into a specific global head at SingTel.

The consumer group includes all such operations in Australia, Singapore and internationally; ICT covers Optus business, managed services and similar regional units; and Digital Life is a new business targeting mobile advertising.

Optus chief executive Paul O'Sullivan has been named head of the 'global' consumer unit, in addition to his existing responsibilities managing the entire Optus business.

Chief operating officer Kevin Russell - who only began his role this year - has been appointed to run the consumer unit in Australia, reporting in to O'Sullivan. Russell is also expected to "deputise" in the broader Optus CEO role in O'Sullivan's absence.

Optus' digital media director Austin Bryan has been named the Australian head of Group Digital Life, reporting to global unit head Allen Lew.

Meanwhile, another fresh hire - former Telstra executive John Paitaridis - has been named the head of Australia's Group ICT, which encompasses the former Optus Business that Paitaridis led for about a month.

Group ICT is the only new business unit not to have a global head. SingTel said it is looking "internally and externally" for someone to fill the role and has appointed Lew as chief in the interim.

Other Australian executives at Optus had been promoted as part of the restructure.

Optus' chief financial officer Murray King has been given a wider remit, appointed regional CFO for the consumer group.

The carrier's human resources director Vaughan Paul is now in the same role for the consumer group.

And the managing director of technology and products at Optus, Andrew Buay, has been named acting chief information officer for the entire SingTel Group.

It remains unclear whether a reporting line for Optus wholesale and satellite networks, Vicky Brady, will change. According to a current executive structure graph for the SingTel Group, Brady already reports into a global functional head as well as locally.

'Scale benefits'

O'Sullivan said the restructure was about "leveraging scale benefits" across the SingTel group.

He said that the structure would allow Optus to lower its capex, opex and procurement costs and to benefit from capabilities rolled out across SingTel's business.

He also said that Optus would "maintain a strong in-country focus", despite the regional push.

"I will continue to be the person who pulls Optus together in Australia and who makes sure we provide a single coordinated face to consumers and stakeholders," O'Sullivan said.

"Each of our new business units will continue to be focused on the local market but we'll also now be in a structure where we can lift a benefit from the huge scale the group has in the region."

O'Sullivan said that the telco locally hoped to gain "better economics" on its rollout of 4G mobile technologies - such as in its dealings with vendors - by uniting with SingTel on the build.

"It makes sense to do that ... once and to then be in a position to work with a model that is successful across all our markets," he said.

O'Sullivan said there were no staff cuts immediately planned. When pushed, he said that Optus would revisit its new structure over time to see if changes could be made.

He also said he would maintain a "loud voice" in telecommunications regulatory circles, despite his expanded role.

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