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Ex Telstra Executive Set To Join Vocus Group Ltd as CEO

On Monday, telecommunications company Vocus Group Ltd (ASX: VOC) updated the market on the appointment of its new CEO and an additional executive director. Former Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) executive Kevin Russell will become Vocus Group’s CEO and Managing Director before the end of May.

Vocus Group is the name behind many telecommunications brands, such as Dodo, Primus and Orrcon, and one of the largest operators of networks throughout Australia and New Zealand.

The Vocus of today is the result of many acquisitions and a merger with M2 Group Ltd. Early in 2018, Vocus announced the resignation of Geoff Horth as CEO. The leadership change followed a tumultuous few years at the company’s most senior levels.

New CEO

The incoming Russell gained 20 years of experience in senior positions at Hutchison Three UK, Telstra Corporation and SingTel Optus.

“Kevin is a highly experienced and respected CEO,” Vocus Chairman Bob Mansfield said. “He has an excellent mix of skills and the demonstrated strategic ability to improve business performance.”

Given his experience at two of Australia’s largest telecommunications companies, Mr Mansfield said Mr Russell is well-placed to lead Vocus’ battle with large rivals like Telstra, Optus and TPG Telecom Ltd (ASX: TPM).

“Corporate activity in earlier years has created a platform that makes Vocus competitive with the majors and opens up significant future growth opportunities,” Mansfield added.

“In the rapidly changing Australian telecoms landscape, there is a real opportunity to lead this Company to its fullest potential by challenging existing business models and delivering exceptional value to customers,” incoming CEO Russell said.

In addition to Mr Russell, Mark Callander, CEO of Vocus New Zealand, will join the telco’s board.

Previously, Vocus Group was open to offers to sell its New Zealand business to shore up its balance sheet and simplify its business. However, in April, Vocus said none of the bids reflected adequate value for the business and it will now invest in the NZ business to realise its potential.

“The appointment of Mark Callander to the Board recognises the important contribution of the NZ business to the Vocus Group,” Mansfield said.

In 2018, Vocus Group shares have fallen from around $3 to their current $2.36, according to Google Finance.

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