Optus CEO appointment ends speculation on former premier Gladys Berejiklian's ascension

Max Corstorphan
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Optus has announced its new CEO. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS)
Optus has announced its new CEO. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

On Monday, Optus announced its new chief executive putting to bed speculation surrounding the potential appointment of one of the country’s most prominent former premiers to the top position.

Optus announced NBN Co chief executive Stephen Rue as the company’s next chief executive, taking the helm in November this year.

Mr Rue has been chief executive of NBN Co for six years and was responsible for the rollout of the National Broadband Network, which expanded broadband access to millions of Australians and enhanced the nation’s digital infrastructure.

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Optus had been looking for a new CEO since former chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin resigned in November 2023, shortly after a major cyber-hack incident.

The announcement puts to an end leadership speculation about former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian, who joined the executive team at Optus in February 2022.

The hugely popular former leader was seen as a potential future CEO of the telco giant, even with the shadow of an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry due to her relationship with disgraced former MP Darryl Maguire while she was the State’s treasurer and premier.

Ms Berejiklian in February appealed ICAC’s finding that she acted corruptly, and the NSW Court of Appeal is yet to hand down its judgement.

However, it is understood that Ms Berejiklian did not put her name forward for consideration of the role.

Ms Berejiklian was focussed on her role as managing director, enterprise and business, according to a source with knowledge of the recruitment process.

Optus chairman Paul O’Sullivan said, “Stephen was chosen after a rigorous process that involved a slate of high-quality candidates. We’re extremely pleased to have someone of his calibre to lead the next chapter at Optus.”

“His experience in setting up the digital backbone of Australia will serve us well as we reinvigorate Optus as Australia’s leading challenger telecommunications brand. We expect Stephen’s operational and financial background to lift service standards significantly for the benefit of our customers.”

Understanding the job that awaits him, Mr Rue said: “My job will be to take care of Optus’ customers, people and business and to provide strong competition and choice.”

“I look forward to accelerating the transformation at Optus so fellow Australians continue to have the choice of a strong alternative telecoms provider and the country as a whole can harness the power of digital connectivity to drive economic participation and social inclusion.”

Mr Rue will also step down from his position as an Executive Director on the NBN Co Board.


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