Several of Telstra’s partners have cheered the announcement an ex-IBM CEO will be taking the reins at the telco, claiming it will benefit distributors playing into the converged IT and carrier space.
The announcement of David Thodey as the new Telstra (ASX:TLS) CEO ended months of speculation after Sol Trujillo stepped down from the position. Telstra chairman, Donald McGauchie, also resigned and will be replaced by board director, Catherine Livingstone AO, effective immediately.
Originally the CEO of IBM’s A/NZ business, Thodey has been with Telstra for eight years heading up corporate, government and large business operations. In a statement, he committed to the reformation started by Trujillo four years ago.
CEO of long-time Telstra partner Techhead Connect, Tim Fussell, was “ecstatic” about the decision.
“David Thodey is very much a channel man,” he said. “He is very much across the distribution business.
“We have had a relationship with him for around seven years. He is very hands on, very interested in us, and very interested in clients. This is a very big thing for Telstra, especially at the enterprise level because he has so many relationships.” Thodey’s IT background at IBM, combined with his experience at Telstra, also impressed Express Data managing director, Ross Cochrane. In December, the distributor extended its relationship with Telstra to include Next IP connectivity products such as Connect IP, Business IP, IP Metropolitan Area Network and WAN. “I concur with the views that having a background at IBM is a good thing,” Cochrane told ARN. “David was there for a long time so there is no doubt he has a strong IT background. On top of that, he has good communication capabilities. IT and carriers are now playing in the whole services area – with software-as-a-service – and there is a big change happening in the market. That background with IBM and also with Telstra is very strong for where the ICT industry is heading.
“David knows channel, there is no doubt about that. He understands the value the channel can provide and I’m very comfortable Telstra will continue to be channel friendly and look to engage channel where they can as they bring more offerings to market.”
Managing director of fellow Telstra partner and distributor, ICT Distribution, Ben O’Leary, echoed his peers’ comments.
“I’m looking forward to David coming on-board because of his prior experience with IBM,” he said. “He is going to understand the IT channel, he is going to understand channels, so therefore the convergence between telco and IT. That suits us because that is exactly what we are all about.”
Telstra CFO, John Stanhope, has also been appointed an executive director of the board, while board member, Peter Willcox, tendered his resignation over his concerns the James Hardie judgment may embarrass the company.
In March, Telstra (ASX: TLS) also announced national sales executive director, Nerida Caesar, would replace wholesale group managing director, Kate McKenzie.