Telstra CEO David Thodey to retire

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Telstra CEO David Thodey to retire

Replacement announced.

David Thodey will relinquish the top job at Telstra in May after six years in the role, revealing plans to retire today.

He will be replaced by Telstra's current chief financial officer, Andrew Penn. Penn will be based in Melbourne.

Thodey will briefly stay on at Telstra following his retirement on May 1 to assist Penn's transition to the CEO role. He will completely exit the telco in "late August", according to a financial filing.

Thodey joined Telstra in 2001 as group managing director of its mobile business. He then ran the enterprise and government business, before being offered the CEO role in May 2009.

Telstra chairman Catherine Livingstone highlighted the rise in company value under Thodey's leadership "from below $40 billion to a recent 14-year high above $80 billion".

She also praised his work building a "strong leadership team" at the telco.

"It is a testament to David Thodey that we were able to select the next chief executive from within the business," Livingstone said.

Thodey said after leaving Telstra, he planned to take a break to travel and assess various options, including non-executive director roles.


He listed the initial and second negotiations of the national broadband network agreements as well as Telstra’s focus on its customers as his greatest achievements.

“The really defining moment for me personally was chosen by our peers as the most respected company in Australia last year. That was a significant event for Telstra.

It was recognition of the hard work done by our field technicians, call centre and retail staff do each day, as well as of our strategy. That was probably the seminal moment for me, seeing Telstra recognised for what it does every day.


Thodey's appointment as CEO in 2009 marked a new start for Telstra after several turbulent years with Sol Trujillo at the helm.

Trujillo's reign was marked by poor relations with the government, culminating in Telstra's exclusion from the national broadband betwork project, a shock move that was thought at the time to have cost it billions.

Thodey repaired those relationships and twice negotiated definitive agreements for major participation in the NBN. Both deals came with $11 billion in value.


Penn will commence his role as CEO at a slightly lower fixed remuneration than his predecessor. Thodey's fixed remuneration was $2.65 million in 2014, whereas Penn will begin wih $2.325 million a year.

However, as was the case with Thodey, Penn can substantially boost his earnings via Telstra's short-term incentive (STI) scheme, depending if targets are met or exceeded.

With incentives, Thodey took home over $12.8 million in 2014.

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