The first repercussions from a major network outage hit Optus today (20 November), with CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin resigning and CFO Michael Venter appointed interim chief. 

In a statement, Bayer Rosmarin explained she believed her resignation was in the company’s best interest.

She appeared before Australia’s Senate last week to explain the cause of the outage and Optus’ response.

“I was also able to communicate Optus’ commitment to restore trust and continue to serve customers.”

Singtel Group CEO Yuen Kuan Moon said the parent company recognised “the need for Optus to regain customer trust and confidence”.

“Optus’ priority is about setting on a path of renewal for the benefit of the community and customers.”

The company said it started a global search for a new CEO and also named former Optus Business MD Peter Kaliaropoulos to the newly created position of COO, reporting to the interim chief.

Mariano Heyden, professor of Strategy & International at Monash Business School, said in statement sent to Mobile World Live the “symbolic scapegoating” of Optus’ figurehead is the reaction to pressures from the public and government.

But Heyden added repairing public trust cannot solely be achieved by simply changing the CEO, as it also needs to be “a by-product of authentic change in the way they conduct business”.

“CEO turnover is an opportunity for the organisation’s board to take accountability for misfortunes and create a context for thinking about authentic change.”

The outage reportedly impacted up to 10,000 customers: Optus blamed technical issues related to routers after a software upgrade, a claim its parent Singtel later denied.

Bayer Rosmarin was named CEO in December 2019.