Telstra's restructure exec to retire

Rober Nason, the executive responsible for Telstra's cost-cutting program Project New, has announced that he will retire to seek non-executive roles.

The man behind Telstra's largest cost-cutting effort in recent years, Robert Nason, has announced that he will retire to seek non-executive roles.

Nason, Telstra's group executive for business support and improvement, was hired by Telstra in February 2010 to kick off the AU$400 million Project New, aimed at improving productivity within Telstra and reducing the company's management layers.

Robert Nason (Image: Telstra)

The executive announced on Friday that he would retire after five years with the business to focus on non-executive director positions. He will remain in the company for a few months while his responsibilities -- including that of Foxtel -- are replaced.

Outgoing Telstra CEO David Thodey said Nason would be missed.

"He has been in tireless pursuit of waste, inefficiency, and frustration to make it easier for us to do business and easier for people to do business with us," Thodey said in a statement.

Nason said in 2012 that Project New wasn't just about "slash-and-burn" cost-cutting, but about finding the right labour and sourcing models.

"We've done quite a bit of in-sourcing of what we've previously outsourced," he said. "In IT, we felt we went too far outsourcing, and we've brought that back in, so I think each business needs to look at that in its own right as an issue, and what the best labour model is.

"We're not about a slash-and-burn exercise. We're about creating a telecommunications company of the future with a staged migration model."

In 2012, Nason also introduced the Net Promoter Score (NPS) in Telstra that the company uses to measure customer satisfaction, and Thodey said it is now "embedded" in the way Telstra does business.

On Friday, Nason said that Telstra had made "strong progress on the productivity and service agenda".

"It has a deeply entrenched focus on improving the experience for our customers, and a strong team capable of taking it forward," he said in a statement.

The company has not yet announced a replacement for Nason, and Nason's retirement comes as Thodey himself will begin transitioning out of the CEO role before his retirement later this year, to be replaced by chief financial officer Andy Penn.