Telstra COO Kate McKenzie quits telco

25 July 2016 | Jason McGee-Abe


Telstra has today announced that its COO, Kate McKenzie, also a former group MD of Telstra Wholesale, is to retire after 12 years at the telco and “will leave Telstra in the coming weeks”.

Capacity understands that group executive global enterprise and services, Brendon Riley, will become interim COO with immediate effect while a permanent replacement is found. It’s a return to the role for the former IBM global executive, who was Telstra COO from 2011 to 2013.

Kate McKenzieMcKenzie, who joined Telstra in 2004 and has been part of Telstra’s CEO leadership team since 2007, has led three business units for Telstra during the past nine years. She has been COO since 2013, responsible for Telstra’s field services, IT and network architecture and operations.

“It has been a wonderful 12 years with Telstra and I am very proud of all the people I have worked with and what we have achieved together. The time is right for me to change direction in my career. I leave knowing that Telstra, under Andy Penn’s leadership, has a great strategy for the future and wish the company, its people and its shareholders every success,” said McKenzie, who has overseen the rollout of Telstra's new brand identity.

The news comes after seven Telstra network outages this year. The last of which at the end of June occurred the day after Telstra CEO Andrew Penn announced that it would invest $250 million in shoring up its mobile and fixed broadband network.

Penn, thanked McKenzie for her “significant service across a range of portfolios and responsibilities” and said: “Kate has been a positive force for Telstra, supporting four chief executive offices and working to build our technology and innovation capability. She has been a significant contributor to our customer-focused culture and a role model for women in the organisation. I have appreciated her support and counsel.”

McKenzie was group managing director, Telstra innovation, products and marketing from 2010 to 2013, leading major product units including mobiles, fixed-voice and broadband, network applications and services, data and IP, national broadband network team and the chief technology office.

Telstra’s group managing director for network applications and services, David Burns, will act in his Riley’s role.