Chorus selects former Telstra COO Kate McKenzie as CEO

Kate McKenzie, who served as COO of Telstra from 2013 to 2016, will be assuming the role of CEO of New Zealand telco Chorus as of February 2017.
Written by Tas Bindi, Contributor

Former Telstra COO Kate McKenzie has been appointed CEO of New Zealand telecommunications company Chorus, replacing Mark Ratcliffe from February 2017.

Mckenzie will oversee the rollout of Chorus' Ultra-Fast Broadband and will focus on customer experience moving forward.

"I have admired Chorus' rollout of very high quality broadband infrastructure and I look forward to playing my part in working with the rest of the telecommunications sector to make it as easy as possible for our customers to enjoy the benefits of this nationwide upgrade and all of the social and economic benefits that will deliver," McKenzie said.

McKenzie held numerous roles at Telstra since joining the telco in 2004. In her most recent position as COO, she was responsible for Telstra's field services, IT, and network architecture and operations. Prior to that, she was the group managing director for innovation, products, and marketing.

The former COO announced her resignation in July following a series of network outages facing the telco this year. Telstra suffered its first major outage on February 9 that took down 2G, 3G, and 4G services across the country for several hours.

The telco blamed the outage on "embarrassing human error", before gifting customers with free unlimited data on February 14 as compensation.

Telstra offered another free data day after suffering an hours-long national mobile data and voice outage on March 17; and on March 22, the telco was hit with a smaller voice outage.

Telstra then experienced an NBN and ADSL outage in May that resulted in it having to send free modems to customers still affected several days later, and a mobile data services outage later that week.

In June, Telstra's broadband service outage affected 75,000 customers, before another outage affected enterprise and business customers across Victoria, including the National Australia Bank and Melbourne's public transport system myki.

The last outage came a day after Telstra CEO Andrew Penn announced the telco was investing AU$250 million in its network over the next six to 12 months in a wake of a series of outages this year.

According to McKenzie during the outages, Telstra's mobile network carries 50 percent more data than it did a year ago, meaning it is under greater strain. As a result of a network review in April, Telstra implemented various measures to attempt to remediate the issues.

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