So former Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo thinks Australia is racist and backward, huh? Hhhmmm….interesting. While I do acknowledge our past hasn’t been that great with race relations (after all the White Australia policy didn’t end until the early1970s), I do take issue with Trujillo’s description of the country as it stands today. Is there racism? Sure, there is in any country. Is using terms like “Amigo” and “Adios” in newspaper, magazine and online portal news stories racist? I think he might be stretching the point.
In my opinion, I think Trujillo is trying to muddy the waters a bit, because as he knows, whenever a high-profile CEO of a public company steps down, scrutiny is sure to follow. And in Trujillo’s case, it is certainly worth a look. When he took over Telstra shares were trading over $5. When he left they were at just over $3. A drop of 40 percent – hardly something that would make you proud.
So what happened during his tenure of note? Well, he did get the 3G network (NextG) up and running, but any CEO worth half his salt would have done the same. I was at the launch and I must admit, I was impressed watching live phone handset video conferencing with Telstra employees from Uluru and other far off places. What was also interesting, was when the sprinklers came on. I thankfully had left by then, but it went down as one of the best launches ever!
But back to that share price and Sol’s job as a CEO. I don’t think Sol really was ever going to be liked by Australia. But he was the guy they brought in to change Telstra from a business that made money from phone calls, to a business that made money from the internet, and he did an OK job.
I still think that Telstra over charge and under deliver, and I know many of you feel the same. But in the end, when you import a CEO from overseas, he comes in, does his job, then goes back to where he came from, then he’s just another foreign CEO.
As for the newly arrived Kiwi-born CEO David Thodey, well all I can is the board have made a choice decision and this new bro will be well received by the other Cousie’s.