Telstra strategy won't change: Thodey

Telstra's broad strategy would remain unchanged, the telco's incoming chief executive David Thodey told journalists this morning, following confirmation of his appointment.

Telstra's broad strategy would remain unchanged, the telco's incoming chief executive David Thodey told journalists this morning, following confirmation of his appointment.

David Thodey (Credit: Telstra)

"Our strategy has remained unchanged," he told gathered press in Melbourne of the company's general view going forward. Thodey will take up the reins at Telstra from July following the departure of current Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo.

It's very important we have a strong relationship with government ... but I've got to stress, we've got to do what's right for Telstra and Australia going forward

Incoming Telstra CEO David Thodey

Although he said the company had been in consultations with Communications Minister Stephen Conroy on the National Broadband Network and would continue the dialogue, Thodey made it clear the company would not kowtow to government.

"I think it's very important we have a strong relationship with government ... but I've got to stress, we've got to do what's right for Telstra and Australia going forward," he said.

However, Thodey sidestepped questions on whether he believed outgoing CEO Sol Trujillo's strategy had been the right one. "I think it's important to look forward," he said.

The company's stance on the unions also seemed unchanged, with Thodey appearing to take a hard stance in response to queries on whether he would engage with workers to avert the current strike, which has been running since December.

"I think there's two principles. We respect the right of every individual to join the union. That's their right. But also we rely on pay for performance. That's the setting we have, and within that setting we'll talk to anybody," he said.

Thodey said he would be sitting down over the next few days with outgoing CEO Sol Trujillo to discuss an "orderly transition". Trujillo is scheduled to finish his tenure at the end of June.

Having described Trujillo as an agent for change, Thodey described himself as an "agent for the customer". He vowed to complete Telstra's transformation, saying there was still a lot of work to do, especially in the customer experience side of things.

New Telstra chair Catherine Livingstone, who was also appointed this morning following the resignation of Donald McGauchie, agreed. "It's really important that we build on the investment that's been made," she said.

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