Ex-Novell CEO takes the reins at Freshtel

Ex-Novell CEO takes the reins at Freshtel

Newly appointed Freshtel CEO, Rhonda O'Donnell, to lead channel strategy revamp

IP telephony provider, Freshtel, has snared former Novell Asia-Pacific president and CEO, Rhonda O'Donnell, as its new CEO. She will be tasked with leading its global expansion and overseeing a complete revamp of local channel operations.

O'Donnell will put a strong focus on growing the company's existing whitelabel customers which already include UK-based retail giant, Tesco. But although Freshtel's global aspirations are high on the list, O'Donnell also plans to ramp up local expansion which she says have been neglected in recent months.

"Because there's been a lot of focus on Tecso we really need to start looking at the local scene and build on what's been done in the short term from a reseller perspective," she said.

Plans for a channel strategy overhaul are currently underway. O'Donnell expected the new plans would be made public in the next two months.

"We definitely need to be identifying who are the right resellers for us locally. We need to make sure we understand what's in the best interest for the reseller and what's in Freshtel's best interest too," she said.

Prior to joining Novell, O'Donnell was managing director of Cambridge Technology Partners, which was acquired by Novell in 2001. She was also previously managing director of Global Customer Solutions (GCS), a subsidiary of TXU, one of the world's largest energy utilities.

O'Donnell is involved in a number of advisory boards and committees including the Victorian Government's Innovation Economy Board and the Victorian Government Purchasing Board (VGPB). She also chairs the Vic ICT for Women Network, a joint Victorian Government and industry initiative.

O'Donnell will continue as Novell's Asia-Pacific chairperson for the time being.

"The Novell job was very demanding in terms of travel because I was constantly all over Asia," she said. "Being based locally was a deciding factor in taking the role with Freshtel. But, above all, I really wanted the opportunity to take an Australian company and make it one of the most exciting locally grown global companies."

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