Optus CEO falls on sword

Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin has resigned two weeks after a catastrophic internet and phone outage, and following her appearance before a Senate committee.

Kelly Bayer Rosmarin

In a statement issued by Optus’ parent company Singtel on Monday Ms Bayer Rosmarin said her resignation was in the best interest of Optus following the outage which affected 10 million Optus customers on November 8.

“On Friday I had the opportunity to appear before the Senate to expand on the cause of the network outage and how Optus recovered and responded,” she said.

“I was also able to communicate Optus’ commitment to restore trust and continue to serve customers. Having now had time for some personal reflection, I have come to the decision that my resignation is in the best interest of Optus moving forward.”

Appearing before the senate inquiry on November 17, Ms Bayer Rosmarin said the outage occurred when “key Optus routers disconnected from the network … during a scheduled upgrade on the Singtel international peering network.”

Singtel has denied that was the root cause, saying  in a statement “We are aware that Optus experienced a network outage after the upgrade when a significant increase in addresses being propagated through their network triggered preset failsafes. However, the upgrade was not the root cause”.

During the Senate hearing Ms Bayer Rosmarin also avoided directly answering questions about her intention to resign as CEO.

‘Path of renewal’

Singtel Group CEO Yuen Kuan Moon acknowledged Ms Bayer Rosmarin’s leadership, commitment and hard work through a challenging period spanning Covid-19 and its aftermath.

“Kelly has always led with integrity and had all stakeholders’ best interests at heart. We understand her decision and wish her the very best in her future endeavours,” Mr Moon said.

However, he said in order for Optus to regain customer trust and confidence as it dealt with the consequences of the outage its priority was “setting on a path of renewal”.

Optus has appointed CFO Michael Venter to act as interim CEO as the company embarks on a global search for a new CEO.

Former Optus Business Managing Director Peter Kaliaropoulos will come on board on November 22 in the newly created position of Chief Operating Officer, reporting to the interim CEO.

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