Optus CEO Resigns Amidst Outage Fallout as Australia’s Telecom Giant Faces Scrutiny

In the aftermath of a nationwide outage that left millions of Australians without phone service, Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin has resigned following a critical report from the Australian Senate. The unplanned outage on November 8 disrupted the morning routines of countless individuals, affecting businesses, hospitals, and public transport systems. The outage impacted approximately 40% of the country’s population, totaling around 10 million Australians.

Bayer Rosmarin’s resignation was announced by Singtel, the owner of Optus, in a statement on Monday. The Australian Senate’s report highlighted the lack of preparation for a network-wide outage at Optus, leading to the disruption and chaos experienced by users. The outage was the second major incident under Bayer Rosmarin’s leadership, with the previous one involving a significant data breach in September, described as the worst in the company’s history.

In her statement released by Singtel, Bayer Rosmarin mentioned “personal reflection” as the reason for her resignation, stating that it is in the “best interest of Optus moving forward.” Singtel acknowledged her leadership during a “challenging period” and noted improved financial performance and market share gains during her tenure.

The resignation comes as a response to the recent Senate inquiry’s revelations that Optus had not planned for a network-wide outage and lacked a backup strategy. The outage, attributed to a software upgrade at Optus’s corporate parent, Singtel, resulted in significant customer claims totaling around $282,000.

Singtel, recognizing the importance of Optus in providing connectivity services to the community, expressed the need for the telecom giant to regain customer trust and confidence. To address the fallout, Singtel announced the creation of a new role, Chief Operating Officer at Optus, to be filled by Peter Kaliaropoulos, the company’s former business managing director.

Optus’s interim CEO will be Michael Venter, the current chief financial officer, while a global search is conducted for a new head. Venter, who joined Optus in March 2021, brings experience from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, similar to his predecessor, Bayer Rosmarin. The developments underscore the challenges faced by Optus in maintaining network resiliency and security while restoring public trust in the wake of recent setbacks.

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