Kelly Bayer Rosmarin has announced her resignation as the CEO of Optus, Australia's second-largest telecommunications company, after less than two weeks of a nationwide network outage. The outage left approximately 10 million customers without internet access, as well as unable to receive calls and texts for up to 12 hours. Ms. Bayer Rosmarin stated that her decision to step down at this time is in the best interest of Optus moving forward.
Ms. Bayer Rosmarin had recently appeared before the Senate to provide details about the cause of the network outage and Optus' response to the incident. Following some personal reflection, she concluded that her resignation would benefit the company. In a statement, she expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to lead the team at Optus and serve their customers, wishing everyone success in the future.
According to reports, Ms. Bayer Rosmarin's resignation came as a surprise, given that she had only taken over as CEO on April 1, 2020. While her husband was seen leaving their residence in Vaucluse, he did not respond to questions from journalists. Speculations regarding the timing of a photography session conducted at their mansion during the network outage were dismissed by her husband as "unfortunate timing."
Following her departure, Michael Venter, the company's Chief Financial Officer, will assume the role of interim CEO while continuing in his current position. Additionally, former Optus business managing director Peter Kaliaropoulos will take on the newly created position of Chief Operating Officer, reporting to Mr. Venter.
This resignation follows a major and highly disruptive network blackout experienced by Optus on November 8, affecting 10 million customers. In September last year, the company also faced a significant data breach impacting 9.7 million current and former customers.
During the recent outage, Ms. Bayer Rosmarin faced criticism for her delayed response to customer concerns and for seemingly being unavailable during the crucial early hours. Despite her later appearances and assurances, the incident resulted in considerable backlash. Optus attributed the outage to a routine software upgrade that triggered routing information changes, causing routers to disconnect from the network for protection.
With her background in industrial engineering and management, Ms. Bayer Rosmarin had an impressive career, including holding various senior roles at the Commonwealth Bank before joining Optus as the deputy CEO in March 2019. She had then swiftly risen to the position of CEO a little over a year later.