update Telstra announced today that its chief operations officer will leave the company on 31 January to return home to the US.
(Credit: Suzanne Tindal/ZDNet.com.au)
Winn had headed Telstra's networks and operations, playing a large part in the company's yet unfinished IT transformation effort. Winn was also central to the building of Telstra's Next G mobile network as well as its Next IP network.
The American executive was prominent on the technical side for Telstra's push for the government's $4.7 billion National Broadband Network, leading a presentation day at the end of last year for press and analysts on the telco's master plan. The plan went unused after the government removed Telstra from the tender process.
"There is no finer telecommunications operational executive in the world than Greg Winn. Telstra and Australia have been fortunate to have benefited from Greg's skills, leadership and wisdom over the past three years," Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo said in a statement.
According to the company, Winn's original plan when he arrived in Australia in 2005 was only to stay with Telstra for two years.
Winn did not finish everything he began despite the longer than intended stay, but he believed he had set the company on the right path. "I will return to the United States with pride and satisfaction at what we have achieved in the past three-and-a-half years. With a CEO like Sol, the job is never done, but we have already achieved many of the objectives of our five-year transformation and we are on track to meet the targets we set back in November 2005," Winn said.
Telstra has said it would not fill the COO position left vacant by Winn, with his direct reports set to report to Trujillo. Winn will maintain the role of consultant to the CEO until 31 March.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions thought it outrageous that Winn should continue to receive money for being a consultant while Telstra employees were told to "batten down the hatches".
The council also believed that Winn should give back his $8.9 million in bonus from the last financial year.
"Under his watch, Telstra has lurched from one crisis to another with the company's much-heralded 'transformation' well behind schedule and the new Siebel IT system responsible for a growing tide of customer complaints," ACTU assistant secretary Tim Lyons said in a statement.
Lyons went on to place much of the blame for the thousands of Telstra employees who have lost their jobs via retrenchments or offshoring at the executive's door.
"Unfortunately, long after Mr Winn has returned to the US, Telstra employees will be left to clean up the mess left by his legacy," Lyons said.