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Embattled Optus CEO resigns after fraught 18 months

Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin has stepped down after a challenging 18 months marked by two of the telco giant's worst and most public disasters.



Optus boss Kelly Bayer Rosmarin has resigned after the telecommunications giant suffered a fraught 18 months marked by a cyber attack and an hours-long outage that affected millions of Australians.


Ms Bayer Rosmarin tendered her resignation on Monday morning after facing a Senate grilling on Friday.


"It's been an honour and privilege to lead the team at Optus and to serve our customers," she said in a statement.


"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."


Chief financial officer Michael Venter will assume the role of interim CEO while continuing in his current position.


Former Optus business managing director Peter Kaliaropoulos will become the company's chief operating officer from Wednesday, a newly created position that will report to Mr Venter.


Ms Bayer Rosmarin was appointed to the top job in April 2020, during the height of the pandemic.


In September 2022, she presided over one of the telco's worst PR disasters when it suffered a massive data breach that affected 10 million Australians and resulted in the licence, Medicare and passport numbers of 10,000 customers being stolen and leaked online. 


A little over a year later, just as the company had begun to piece together the remains of its customers' shattered confidence, Optus was hit by a 12-hour long outage that prevented more than one-third of Australians from accessing the internet and receiving cell service.


More than 200 emergency calls could not go through to the triple-zero line.


Yuen Kuan Moon, chief of Optus's parent company Singtel, acknowledged the former CEO for her leadership, commitment and hard work during this "challenging" period and thanked Ms Bayer Rosmarin for her dedication.


"Kelly has always led with integrity and had all stakeholders' best interests at heart," he said.


"We understand her decision and wish her the very best in her future endeavours."


Following the November 8 outage, Ms Bayer Rosmarin was summoned to a parliamentary inquiry where she was roasted by senators channelling the ire of their constituents. 


During the Friday hearing, Nationals senator Ross Cadell queried her response during and after the network event and asked whether it was time for new leadership at the telco.


In response, she said she would "take that on board".


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