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Telstra chief information officer resigns

Telstra has now lost its CIO, COO, and CTO over the past six months, coinciding with seven network outages across the country during the same period of time.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Telstra's chief information officer Erez Yarkoni has announced his resignation from the telecommunications provider, citing the move back to the United States as the reason.

Yarkoni's resignation, first reported by The Register, comes just over a year after his appointment to the CIO role in February 2015. Prior to that, he served as executive director of Telstra's Cloud business after joining the telco in 2013.

Yarkoni, also the former CIO of T-Mobile USA, will stay with Telstra until October. Telstra expects to announce a replacement prior to his departure.

"After developing and leading the refreshed IT strategy, and realigning the IT operating model, Erez has made the decision to move permanently back to the US to join his family," a Telstra spokesperson said in a statement.

"He departs Telstra with a clear road map for us to execute and deliver on our vision to become a world-class technology provider."

Telstra recently announced its rebranding into a technology firm rather than a pure telco provider, following in the footsteps of Optus, which wants to be known as a multimedia company.

"This sentiment is behind the evolution of Telstra's brand. Telstra is evolving from a telco to a techco -- to be a world-class technology company empowering people to connect," Telstra CMO Joe Pollard wrote in a blog post last week.

"Our brand needs to reflect this, and demonstrate there are better ways for everyone to thrive in this connected world."

Yarkoni's resignation comes after news last week that Telstra chief operating officer Kate McKenzie will be retiring in coming weeks. Telstra's CTO Vish Nandlall also departed the telco in May amid speculation that he was sacked for falsifying his CV.

The executive exodus follows seven outages on the Telstra network during 2016: The first on February 22, which affected prepaid and post-paid mobile services and was caused by "embarrassing human error"; the second on March 17, which involved an hours-long national mobile data and voice outage; and the third on March 22, which was a smaller voice outage.

It then experienced an NBN and ADSL outage in May that resulted in the telco having to send free modems to customers still affected several days later; a mobile data services outage later that week; a broadband service outage in June; and an outage that took down businesses across Victoria, including banks, hospitals, department stores, and Jetstar.

As a result, Telstra CEO Andrew Penn in June committed the telco to investing an additional AU$250 million in its network over the next six to 12 months in three major areas: AU$50 million to be spent on improving mobile network resiliency by creating better real-time monitoring and speeding up recovery time; AU$100 million on increasing the core fixed-line network's reliability and resiliency; and AU$100 million on upping its ADSL broadband capacity to cope with demand.

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