Telstra enforces silence over CIO’s resignation

After only 10 months in the job, Balfour made her surprise departure public last week

Telstra is remaining tight-lipped about the resignation of its chief information officer, Fiona Balfour.

After only 10 months in the job, Balfour made her surprise departure public last week.

Balfour’s resignation led to an email being issued to Telstra staff stating she had left the company to “pursue other opportunities”.

The email, from the telco’s chief operations officer, Greg Winn, implies Balfour is planning to take up a new position, although Telstra was unwilling to elaborate on her employment contract and why it came to such an early end.

Telstra spends more than A$1.5 billion (NZ$1.7 billion) a year on IT and Balfour was charged with overseeing a massive consolidation project at the telco which included the implementation of a new billing system and customer-service platform. Balfour’s departure follows the resignation of deputy CIO Vish Padmanabham less than six months ago.

No replacement was sought as Telstra abolished the position, leaving Balfour to oversee a five-year IT overhaul at the telco.

Under CEO Sol Trujillo, Telstra has allocated A$11 billion (NZ$12.4 billion) to capital expenditure over the next four years, to rationalise its networks and IT.

Balfour will be temporarily replaced by former Accenture partner, Tom Lamming, who has been Winn’s IT adviser for the past 18 months.

Gartner telco analyst Geoff Johnson says Balfour had been under a lot of pressure to rationalise the telco’s IT systems.

Johnson says Winn and Trujillo are obviously comfortable with Lamming. He says Lamming has a history of rationalising systems and Winn has pushed hard to consolidate IT systems from 1,200 down to 300.

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