All change at Vodafone Australia

As one expat Kiwi leaves, another takes the top job

Russell Hewitt's rapid ascent up the Vodafone Australia ranks is complete as he accepts the top job.

Hewitt, former head of Compaq and then Hewlett-Packard New Zealand, takes over the reins on June 1 when outgoing chief executive Grahame Maher takes over the top job at the troubled Vodafone subsidiary in Sweden.

Maher, also an expat Kiwi who was head-hunted for the Australian job after leading Vodafone New Zealand, is credited with turning around Vodafone's Australian operation, which is currently third in that market.

Maher is quoted in The Australian as telling his staff "make sure you continue to ... kick arse!!!" in his farewell email.

"From a business perspective, I want to continue delivering on my purpose of changing the world to be a better place by enabling others to achieve their own personal best and striving for my own personal BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) to be a recognised and influential global leader who, by caring for and believing in people and their possibilities, will lead and inspire others to change the way organisations of the world are led and managed."

Vodafone has a habit of poaching Australasian managers for its European divisions. Vodafone New Zealand managing director Tim Miles has recently been appointed to head up the company's UK operation — a role that was rumoured to have been going to Maher.

Hewitt says his main aim as managing director of the Australian operation will be the rollout of Vodafone's 3G network, something he expects to kick off in October.

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