Melbourne IT pinches Optus' Martin Mercer for CEO

IT services company Melbourne IT has announced that it has recruited Optus' managing director of Fixed as the company's new CEO.

Melbourne IT has announced that Optus' managing director of Fixed, Martin Mercer, will step up as the company's new CEO after a tumultuous 2013 that saw the former CEO Theo Hnarakis leave the company after a 9 percent drop in half-year revenues.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, Melbourne IT said Mercer had been appointed by the board of Melbourne IT to start in April.

"Mercer was selected after an extensive internal and external review by Sheldon Harris Consulting. He will be supported in his role by Peter Findlay, our CFO and current acting CEO," chairman Simon Jones said in a statement.

"We are absolutely delighted to have an executive of the standing of Martin on board to help define and lead a refocused business into its next phase of growth."

Mercer spent 11 years at Telstra until 2009, when he struck out as the CEO of fixed-wireless internet provider Vividwireless. The company was eventually bought out by SingTel subsidiary Optus in 2012 for AU$230 million .

As part of the takeover, Optus put Mercer into the role of the managing director of Fixed, where, most recently, he had been trialling the possibility of Optus offering fixed-wireless services through its multi-band 4G network.

Optus CEO Kevin Russell said Mercer would be missed, and wished him the best in his new role.

"This is an exciting opportunity for Martin, well suited to his skills. We will miss him, but it's understandable why he's taking it on," he said in a statement.

"Martin has been a valued colleague and contributor to the Optus leadership team since joining us in March 2013 after we acquired Vividwireless. His time with us has been short, but his impact has been significant. We have benefited from Martin's energy and ideas, and he has made changes that are having a positive impact on both strategy and our fixed-line business."

Optus did not disclose whether a replacement has yet been found for Mercer.