950 executive and middle management roles are set to be cut at several of Telstra’s capital city offices over the coming months as the incumbent telco attempts to simplify business structures in what it has labelled ‘Project New’. The first step of the $290 million business project will see Telstra restructured around the same local management model employed at Telstra Country Wide in June, which at the time saw 46 redundancies. Under the new model, 950 middle management roles will be replaced by 33 local managers responsible for 5,000 shops and dealers owned and operated by the company. Telstra Country Wide will be folded into the wider retail network. In an attempt to rebrand itself as a “sales and marketing company” instead of the peak engineering telco enforced by former chief executive, Sol Trujillo, Telstra will consolidate product innovation and management under the Chief Marketing Office, to be overseen by current chief technical officer, Hugh Bradlow. Telstra Operations, on the other hand, will take care of product delivery. “Change is always difficult, even where it is made in a way which is focused on improving service to our customers,” Telstra chief executive, David Thodey, said in a statement. According to Thodey, the telco hopes the consolidation of duplicate roles will “clarify job accountabilities, eliminate unnecessary steps in company processes, and substantially simplify decision-making”. Those affected by the management shake-up will be provided with redundancy entitlements of up to 80 weeks pay depending on their length of service. Assistant secretary to the Victorian branch of the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU), John Ellery, told Computerworld Australia that the union - which represents the majority of Telstra employees - had not been warned of the job cuts. The latest job cuts follow threats from the company to axe 900 jobs in May, resulting in a staff strike at the time. The telco ultimately axed 345 middle management positions in a separate round to this week's announcement. However, Thodey flagged more jobs were to go at the telco’s recent Investor Day. “[Project New] is about simplifying the business, and we are going to restructure every part of this business as we go forward,” he said at the time. Telstra has denied reports a total of 6000 jobs are likely be made redundant over the course of the next three years, but has so far remained uncertain as to exactly how many will go. “The roll-out of Project New will result in an increasing in redundancy expenditure as we start to simplify the business.” The project will ultimately involve 500 employees to implement 27 programs with an aim to reduce spending on third parties, improve online customer service, improve the productivity of its field workforce, simplify its prices and cut costs, according to Thodey.
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