Appointments

CFO Vicky Brady to lead Telstra as Penn retires

Vicki Brady Telstra.jpg

Telstra’s CFO, Vicky Brady, will become CEO when Andy Penn retires this year after seven years in the post.

Brady (pictured) will take over on 1 September, Telstra said this morning in an announcement that took Australian business by surprise.

Penn said that Brady is “an extremely capable executive that I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside for over six years. I’m also delighted that Telstra will have its first female CEO.”

Telstra chair John Mullen said that Penn “would leave a positive and enduring legacy for the transformation he has led during his time as CEO”. Like Brady, Penn was Telstra’s CFO before he became CEO.

He said: “Andy has led Telstra during a period of significant change and will be known for his courage in setting a bold ambition through the T22 strategy to deliver a transformed experience for customers, shareholders and employees.”

Mullen added: “While in his role Andy made important contributions to Australian society including through his role as a Male Champion of Change advocating for diversity in the workplace.”

After a spell with KPMG, Brady worked for more than four years with Optus, the Singtel-owned competitor to Telstra in the Australian market, before moving to Telstra in June 2016 as group managing director, consumer.

Australian telecoms analyst Paul Budde said this morning that, with competition from Google, Facebook, Amazon and others, Telstra “needed to become leaner and meaner and that meant a very strong focus on costs” in order to survive. “A successful strategy to make that happen within Telstra was established by Andy Penn and this cost transformation is still continuing. As the company’s CFO, Vicki Brady has been instrumental in this process and under her leadership this process will no doubt continue.”

Jemima Whyte in the Australian Financial Review noted more sardonically: “For her first public outing as Telstra’s chief executive designate, Vicki Brady showed that she can do bland but uplifting corporate speak with the best of them.”