Telstra hires former Microsoft and Nokia veteran Stephen Elop

Stephen Elop
Stephen Elop, the former CEO of Nokia and a Microsoft veteran, who was instrumental in selling the smartphone business to Microsoft, will join telecom network operator Telstra.

Stephen Elop will be based in both Australia and the U.S. in his new role with Telstra. Telstra aims to expand its presence in international markets.

Following the acquisition of Nokia phone business, Stephen Elop returned to Microsoft. Before Microsoft selecting Satya Nadella as the CEO to replace Steve Ballmer, Stephen Elop was also considered as one of the potential CEO candidates.

Stephen Elop managed Nokia from 2010 to 2013 and sold the smartphone business of the Finnish company to Microsoft, his previous employer, for $9.5 billion. The US-based software maker has reported its biggest-ever quarterly loss on the deal after writing down $7.6 billion.

The Australian carrier’s CEO Andrew Penn has described Asia as a key part of the growth strategy of Telstra, which completed a $697 million purchase of Pacnet last year to gain access to its undersea cables, Bloomberg reports.

Stephen Elop will be responsible for strategy as the company seeks to be a “world-class technology company” as of next month, said Telstra on Wednesday in a statement.

At Telstra, Stephen Elop’s technology, innovation and strategy job combines the carrier’s chief technology office, chief scientist, software group and corporate strategy and links them with product development, said the Melbourne-based company.

The carrier also named Kevin Russell, the former head of the consumer business at second-ranked Optus, as group executive retail. He will join Telstra, replacing Karsten Wildberger, who resigned in December, Telstra said. Russell left Optus, the Australian unit of Singapore Telecommunications, in 2014.

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