Former Telstra COO Kate McKenzie to head Chorus

Chorus has appointed the former chief operations officer of Telstra, Kate McKenzie as its new CEO, from February 2017.

Chorus has appointed the former chief operations officer of Telstra, Kate McKenzie as its new CEO, from February 2017. She replaces Mark Ratcliffe who in August announced his decision to step down around mid 2017. However Chorus said he would now leave after a handover period in February.

As COO of Telstra McKenzie was responsible for Telstra’s field services, IT and network architecture and operations. She moved into the COO role at Telstra in 2013 and resigned in July 2016. Before that she was Telstra’s group managing director, Innovation, Products and Marketing. She joined Telstra in 2004 and held a number of other roles at Telstra including group managing director, Wholesale, and group managing director, Regulatory, Public Policy and Communications.

Chorus Chairman Patrick Strange described her as one of the most highly rated telecommunications executives in the region, saying: “We believe the combination of Kate’s clear leadership qualities and her broad range of relevant experience made her the standout choice in a field of high quality candidates.”

Prior to joining Telstra, she was a CEO in the NSW Government of the Departments of Commerce, Industrial Relations and the WorkCover Authority.

She is a qualified lawyer and a member of Chief Executive Women, has served on the Telstra Foundation, Telstra’s philanthropic arm and has had a long history of involvement in promoting the interests of indigenous communities.

InternetNZ’s ‘to do’ list for new CEO

InternetNZ responded promptly to the announcement of McKenzie’s appointment with a shopping list of challenges it believes she will face in her new role.

It listed these as: truly transitioning Chorus from legacy copper technology to fibre; driving utilisation, productivity and benefit from better connectivity; helping Internet service providers and New Zealanders getting and using fibre.

InternetNZ CEO Jordan Carter said: “Chorus has a responsibility to get New Zealanders connected as quickly and as seamlessly as possible. … That means providing products that meet customer demand as it changes over time. For example, moving the base product from 30Mbps to 50Mbps.”

He added: "Providing excellent service to Internet users and the Internet service providers that support them is core business for Chorus.”

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