Telstra chairman Catherine Livingstone has announced her retirement from the telecommunications giant, with Asciano managing director and chief executive officer John Mullen set to take over the role.
Mullen, who has served as a director at Telstra since July 2008, will transition into the role over the coming months after he wraps up his ongoing obligations at the freight logistics company.
Before taking up his current role at Asciano in 2011, Mullen was the chief executive of numerous companies including DHL Express Asia Pacific, DHL Express USA, and TNT.
The announcement marks the end of a long and distinguished career for Livingstone, who was first appointed to the Telstra board as a non-executive director in November 2000.
Livingstone subsequently replaced Donald McGauchie as chairman of the telco in May 2009, alongside the appointment of former chief executive David Thodey.
Outside Telstra, Livingstone has served as the chief executive of Cochlear, chairman of the CSIRO, president of the Business Council of Australia and president of the Australian Museum Trust.
Livingstone has also been a director of numerous organisations including WorleyParsons, Macquarie Bank, Macquarie Group, Goodman Fielder, Rural Press, the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council, Saluda Medical, the Sydney Institute and the George Institute for Global Health.
In 2008, Livingstone’s contribution to the development of Australian science, technology and innovation policies for the business sector was recognised when she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia.
In a statement, Livingstone said she believed the timing was right to allow a new chairman the opportunity to drive Telstra’s continued growth.
“We have improved relationships with important stakeholders, and none so more important than our customers. This is an area where we can always continue to improve, but has been substantially advanced in the past few years,” Livingstone said.
Mullen credited Livingstone with leading Telstra through a transformational period, and for engineering significant change to how the telco giant is regarded by its shareholders, regulators, employees and customers.
“With David Thodey, [Livingstone] set about correcting Telstra’s course to the place of stability and enormous opportunity it holds today,” he said.
The announcement marks the second major high-level departure from Telstra this month, after the group’s wholesale supremo Stuart Lee announced he is ending a 45-year career with the telco.