Telstra's deputy CIO leaves

Summary:update Telstra's marginalised deputy chief information officer, Vish Padmanabhan, will leave the company at the end of August. "It is with regret that I advise that Vish Padmanabhan has decided to leave Telstra on 31 August 2006," Telstra CIO Fiona Balfour wrote in a 16 August e-mail to staff seen by ZDNet Australia today.

update Telstra's marginalised deputy chief information officer, Vish Padmanabhan, will leave the company at the end of August.

"It is with regret that I advise that Vish Padmanabhan has decided to leave Telstra on 31 August 2006," Telstra CIO Fiona Balfour wrote in a 16 August e-mail to staff seen by ZDNet Australia today.

Vish Padmanabhan

"Vish has been with Telstra since 2004 and has provided strong leadership to the team, driving the initial end-to-end IT review to align with our 'One Factory' operating model," she continued.

A Telstra spokesperson told ZDNet Australia today the company would not seek a replacement for Padmanabhan, with the deputy CIO position to be abolished. They could not confirm what the executive's next career move would be.

Padmanabhan joined Telstra in June 2004 after a 20 year career at IBM. He worked closely with Telstra's then group managing director for technology, innovation and products Ted Pretty, who has also since left Telstra.

The executive's rocky career at the telco saw him briefly elevated to the CIO position in April 2005, just a few short months before Telstra underwent an extensive management reshuffle under new chief executive officer Sol Trujillo, who joined the company last July.

With Trujillo came new chief operations officer Greg Winn, who immediately assumed tight control of key ICT decision-making.

With the company conducting an extensive review of ICT in conjunction with consultancy Accenture, speculation mounted about the extent to which Padmanabhan had been sidelined under the new regime.

Some of those questions were answered when Telstra's new management held a landmark briefing to outline extensive internal ICT transformation projects last November. It was Winn and not Padmanabhan who took the podium on that date to explain technical details.

To add insult to injury, just three months later it was revealed Padmanabhan had reverted to his old deputy role, as Qantas CIO Fiona Balfour came across from the airline to take his job.

At the time Telstra refused to use the term "demoted" when referring to Padmanabhan's downward move, saying only he had "accepted" the deputy position.

"Vish accepted the role of Deputy Chief Information Officer when I joined Telstra in April this year and I would like to thank him for his support over the past months," wrote Balfour in her 16 August e-mail.

Despite Balfour's move from Qantas, she too reports to Winn, who is now the public face of Telstra's technology operation.

Padmanabhan's IBM experience would have come in extremely useful during his time at Telstra. In his final two years at Big Blue, Padmanabhan was responsible for running IBM's application management services contract with the telco.

In April this year, it was Padmanabhan, in cohort with Telstra managing director technology and network services, Michael Lawrey, who announced a new landmark services deal with IBM in an e-mail to staff.

Topics: CXO, IBM, Telcos, Telstra

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