Telstra CIO quits

Telstra has continued its horror run of short-lived chief information officers, with incumbent CIO John McInerney having resigned after less than two years in the role, according to multiple reports.

Telstra has continued its horror run of short-lived chief information officers, with Telstra announcing that incumbent CIO John McInerney has resigned after less than two years in the role.

Telstra this morning confirmed reports that McInerney (Telstra's CIO since November 2008) had resigned the position effective immediately after several months on leave.

McInerney's deputy Ashley Lazaro — who has been acting in the position and notably took the CIO's place at a recent Telstra press conference — would continue to act in the role, but a permanent appointment will be announced "shortly", according to the telco.

Previously to winning the CIO role, the executive was the telco's executive director of information technology, a position he had held since mid-2007. He has been with Telstra for about seven years in total, after a prior career that included several years as the CEO of the Datum group — a company at which he spent nine years in total.

"Over seven years at Telstra, John made an enormous contribution to changing our IT environment in many ways, including as executive director information technology from mid-2007, driving the delivery of simplified customer relationship and improved billing solutions, Siebel and Keenan," Telstra COO Michael Rocca said. "Since taking on the role of chief information officer, and group managing director IT in 2008, John has also driven innovation through the IT group, including streamlining the number of our strategic IT partners and simplifying sourcing arrangements."

McInerney is just the latest in a long line of CIOs who have only lasted a few years in the top IT role at Telstra.

Controversial Telstra transformation advisor Tom Lamming — who was brought into the telco by then-CEO Sol Trujillo — had led Telstra's IT transformation and operations for several years before McInerney took the job.

Before that time, the last executive to formally hold the CIO title was Fiona Balfour, who left the top IT role at Qantas for the Telstra role, displacing incumbent Vish Padmanabhan.

Telstra's longest-running CIO in recent history has been Jeff Smith — currently Suncorp chief information officer — who himself only helmed the telco's IT operation for some three years.