Optus appoints telco veteran as new CEO

Outgoing NBN Co CEO Stephen Rue will become the new head of Optus.

Outgoing NBN Co CEO Stephen Rue will become the new head of Optus. Photo: AAP

Optus has appointed a telecommunications veteran as its new chief executive, six months after a nationwide outage at the telco left nearly a third of Australians without internet or mobile service.

Stephen Rue will become Optus CEO in November after six years as the head of Australia’s National Broadband Network and four years as its chief financial officer.

During his time with network, he oversaw a broadband rollout to more than eight million homes and businesses across the nation.

“I’m honoured and excited to be given the opportunity to lead Optus, a company that has strived to serve Australians for over two decades,” Rue said in a statement on Monday.

“My job will be to take care of Optus’ customers, people and business and to provide strong competition and choice.

“I look forward to accelerating the transformation at Optus so fellow Australians continue to have the choice of a strong alternative telecoms provider.”

Optus chairman Paul O’Sullivan said  Rue’s appointment came after an extensive internal, external and international search.

“We expect Stephen’s operational and financial background to lift service standards significantly for the benefit of our customers,” he said.

“His experience in setting up the digital backbone of Australia will serve us well as we reinvigorate Optus as Australia’s leading challenger telecommunications brand.”

Optus has also introduced a new governance model that will force its CEO and executives to report to the board and rebuild customer trust.

Former Optus chief Kelly Bayer Rosmarin stepped down in November after the telecommunications giant suffered two major public relations disasters.

In September 2022, Optus suffered a massive data breach that affected 10 million Australians and resulted in the theft and leaking online of driver’s licence, Medicare and passport numbers of 10,000 customers.

About 14 months later, it was hit by a 12-hour-long outage that prevented millions of Australians from accessing the internet and receiving cell service and stopped thousands of emergency calls.

The federal government has since reviewed the outage and is planning changes to protect Australians from future issues by boosting oversight of the emergency network and improving the accountability of telecommunications companies.


Topics: Optus
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