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Optus CEO resigns after nationwide outage; former StarHub CEO to join as COO

Peter Kaliaropoulos, the former CEO of StarHub, will join Optus as COO on Nov 22.

Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin has tendered her resignation on Nov 20, announced Singapore Telecommunications Z74 (Singtel).

The outgoing CEO said that it was an “honour” to serve in her position but that it was an “appropriate time” to step down.

Bayer Rosmarin’s resignation comes after Optus suffered from a nationwide outage on Nov 8. The outage, which happened during peak hours, left millions stranded without phone and internet services.

She had also avoided the question of her resignation when asked by the senate committee if she was considering stepping down. At the time, she said that she was focused on the crisis.

“On Friday I had the opportunity to appear before the senate to expand on the cause of the network outage and how Optus recovered and responded. I was also able to communicate Optus’ commitment to restore trust and continue to serve customers. Having now had time for some personal reflection, I have come to the decision that my resignation is in the best interest of Optus moving forward,” says Bayer Rosmarin.

“It’s been an honour and privilege to lead the team at Optus and to serve our customers. I am proud of the team’s many achievements, and grateful for the support of the Optus team, [Singtel group CEO Yuen Kuan Moon], and the group. I wish everyone and the company every success in the future,” she adds.

“Optus appointed Kelly at the beginning of the pandemic, and we acknowledge her leadership, commitment and hard work throughout what has been a challenging period and thank her for her dedication and service to Optus,” says Yuen. “Kelly has always led with integrity and had all stakeholders’ best interests at heart. We understand her decision and wish her the very best in her future endeavours.”

During her time at Optus, Bayer Rosmarin delivered improved financial performance, market share gains, innovation and higher employee engagement.

In the meantime, Optus CFO Michael Venter will be assuming the role of interim CEO as the telco finds its new leader. Venter, who comes with 25 years of experience in banking, funds management and insurance, joined Optus as CFO in 2021.

Peter Kaliaropoulos will also join Optus on Nov 22 in the newly-created position of chief operating officer (COO). Kaliaropoulos will report to the interim CEO.

Kaliaropoulos was previously the Optus business managing director. He was also CEO of StarHub Cc3 from July 2018 before retiring and stepping down from the position in October 2020.

“Optus is an integral part of our group’s business. We view the events in recent weeks very seriously. We fully recognise the importance of Optus’ role in providing connectivity services to the community and the importance of network resiliency and security. That is a top priority in all markets where our companies operate in. I have every confidence our Optus team will exert all efforts to deliver for customers and regain their trust and confidence,” says Yuen.

Shares in Singtel closed at $2.33 on Nov 17.

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