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Optus founder joins TasmaNet as company reveals national ambitions

Optus founder joins TasmaNet as company reveals national ambitions

Business sees parallels between expansion and the early rise of Optus

Joel Harris - Managing Director, TasmaNet

Joel Harris - Managing Director, TasmaNet

One of the founders of Optus, Terry Winters, is set to join the board of Tasmanian service provider, TasmaNet, as the company looks to implement an ambitious growth agenda.

Winters joins the company as chairman of the board, with the business promoting managing partner of the Launceston office, Martin Rees to the role of vice chairman.

Tasmanet said the two appointments will strengthen the board as the company embarks on its next phase of growth with an ambitious five-year expansion plan.

“We draw some parallel lines to what Terry did with Optus in the pulling together of technologies and pushing them out as a new big, national telco,” TasmaNet managing director, Joel Harris, told ARN.

“Certainly, we are looking to draw on his experience. Also, if you look at his previous chairs, he has been working with companies with a lot of innovation, a lot of growth and stability, so they are certainly all things we are really looking for in our chair at the moment and as we grow.”

Tasmanet said Winters brings a depth of experience in the strategy, operations and governance of international technology companies - he is currently chairman and non-executive director of several Australian listed and private companies and charities.

Current roles include positions at Future Fibre Technologies Limited (ASX:FFT); Converge International Pty Ltd and Intelledox Pty Ltd.

Winters also serves as a director of Redflex Holdings Limited (ASX:RDF); Australian Home Care Services Pty Ltd (AHCS) and Many Rivers Microfinance Limited. Until recently, he was also chairman of Seeing Machines Limited (LSE:SEE).

Most notably however, Winters led the team that created Optus and remained on the Board until 1996.

“We do suffer from growing too fast, so we are certainly looking forward to Terry coming on board,” Harris added.

Harris said that one of Winter’s first duties will be to formulate a plan for sustainable growth within the company and instill a more proactive approach.

“We see a lot of time in technology, and in smaller companies in general, that sometimes when the growth comes, they end up being quite reactionary in how they handle it,” Harris said.

“Having someone with Terry’s experience on board means you are less likely to be reactionary to things that come along, instead relying on good planning, processes and working to a strategy.

The company’s other appointment, Rees was a partner of KPMG for 16 years, and managing partner of the Launceston office for 12 years.

In addition, he is currently a part-time consultant for KPMG, and a Board adviser and Director for a spectrum of clients.

“We are very pleased to see people of this calibre joining the TasmaNet board, since it builds confidence in the company as it seeks to establish itself as a leader in cloud digital services,” Harris said.

“The skills and knowledge Martin and Terry bring to the TasmaNet board will further enhance the maturity, strength and momentum of the organisation moving forward.”

TasmaNet has national ambitions, having previously expanded into Queensland, where the company’s technology underpins Vastnet NBN’s broadband roll-out in Toowoomba.

“We now have products which did not even exist 18 months ago, some of them did not exist eight months ago,” Harris said.

He added that as there is new disruptive factors coming in all the time, and as a company, a reactionary posture is not sustainable. Harris said you need a process in place for how you react to anything because more and more disruptive stuff is coming through.

“It is not just technology either, technology, political, climate and others which you have to take into account.

“Over the next three months, it is going to be head down, tail up within the business and getting a grounding in what we are and what our capabilities are, what our advantages are and agreeing on a plan going forward.”


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Tags Terry WintersTasmaNetJoel Harrisoptus

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