Optus CEO Allen Lew steps down after five years at the top

Optus CEO Allen Lew steps down after five years at the top

Former CommBank exec Kelly Bayer Rosmarin takes over

Credit: 38767309 © Tktktk

Optus chief executive officer Allen Lew has stood aside after five years to oversee its parent company Singtel’s operations in Thailand.

Former Commonwealth Bank executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin will take over the leadership reins from April 2020, while Lew will join the Singaporean-based Singtel’s management team.

He will take on the newly-created role of CEO group strategy and business development for Singtel Group and also that of country chief officer in Thailand.

Lew was made CEO of Optus and Consumer Australia in 2014, having held a range of senior management roles since joining the Group in 1980. 

These roles included CEO Group Digital Life, CEO Singapore and COO  Advanced Info Service (AIS), Singtel’s regional mobile division.

Allen Lew (Optus)Credit: Optus
Allen Lew (Optus)

“I look forward to passing the baton to Kelly whose ability to leverage technology, data and analytics to develop leading customer services and experiences will ensure Optus stays ahead of the game,” he said.  

“Now known for our exceptional network, value and customer service, Optus is primed to take advantage of 5G to achieve a serious growth spurt. I’m eager to work more closely with the AIS team to strengthen their leadership in the exciting Thai market.”

Singtel’s group CEO Chua Sock Koong said Lew was “best placed to help drive growth” Thailand. 

Last financial year, Optus’ overall revenue grew by six per cent to $9.1 billion, although net profit was lower due mainly to the impact of the temporary suspension of NBN HFC migrations

Meanwhile, Optus’ headcount was also down by 14.3 per cent, or 1,218, to 7,675 employees as of 31 March 2019 following a series of lay-offs and offshoring moves. 

Its enterprise division Optus Business also took a hit as its earnings before tax (EBITDA) dropped 14.8 per cent to $216 million, while revenue was down 2.7 per cent to $1.44 billion.

Kelly Bayer Rosmarin (Optus)Credit: Optus
Kelly Bayer Rosmarin (Optus)

Lew’s departure is the second major exit from the telco this year as Optus Business boss John Paitaridis left to join BGH Capital earlier this year.

The new CEO will now face the task of playing catch-up to Telstra in its efforts to grow its 5G footprint in Australia, having launched new mobile offering plus a home broadband service.

Under Lew, Optus also invested “tens of millions of dollars” in the “Optus NBN champion” program in an effort to make transitioning to the NBN smoother. 

His successor Bayer Rosmarin previously held the title of group executive of Institutional Banking and Markets at CBA before joining Optus as deputy CEO in March this year.

She reiterated Optus’ drive towards 5G and the digital economy in a statement from the telco, saying: “I look forward to harnessing and optimising the benefits of these changes for our customers across the country, and working with the passionate people at Optus to drive innovation, deliver great customer service, and power the digital economy with connectivity for all Australians.”

Chua added that Bayer Rosmarin had a “unique blend” of technology, commercial and management expertise”.

“She will build on the success of Optus that has flourished under Allen’s dynamic leadership, particularly as we move into the next phase of 5G-powered growth.”

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Tags CEOoptusAllen LewKelly Bayer Rosmarin

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