Telstra top brass poised for big shake-up

Telstra is poised to unveil a major management restructure as early as Monday as chief executive Andy Penn embarks on the first big wave of his planned overhaul of the battling telecommunications company.

Mr Penn signalled on June 20, as part of his broader reshaping of Telstra, that he would be making significant structural changes to the management of the company in a push to streamline the way the group worked. His new strategy was aimed at combating intensifying mobile and broadband competition and included the loss of 8000 jobs and a plan to split off old infrastructure assets into a separated subsidiary.

It is understood the revamp is likely to be announced on Monday. Telstra declined to comment on Friday.

There is speculation that chief financial officer Warwick Bray, who has been in the role since early 2015, may be among those impacted.

Telstra shares have come under serious pressure, sliding 24 per cent in the past six months as the stock tumbled from $3.63 in early February to close at $2.76 on Friday. Telstra is one of the most widely held ASX stocks in Australia after being floated in three separate tranches.

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The heavy pruning of the top tier of management expected on Monday heralds the first stage of Mr Penn’s broad overhaul. Up to 9500 jobs are going across the company although 1500 new positions will be created. Telstra aims to slash $1 billion of costs, simplify mobile plans and split off old infrastructure used to support traditional networks into a separate business as it repositions itself.

Telstra revealed on July 10 that networks boss Mike Wright would leave at the end of September in a brief statement from chief operations officer Robyn Denholm. He is departing after almost 40 years. He is the most senior executive in charge of the planning for Telstra’s make or break push to lead the local market on upcoming 5G networks.

Mr Penn has been outlining that 5G is central to the company’s long-term plan to thrive in the post-NBN industry.

Telstra has been at the centre of serious customer frustrations in the past couple of months following outages on its 4G networks. The telco was last forced to issue apologies in May  after its national network went down for extended periods twice in a month.

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