Trujillo 'world class' in making enemies
July 24, 2009 - 10:08AM
Former Telstra boss Ziggy Switkowski has taken aim at his recently departed
successor, saying Sol Trujillo had managed to make enemies of both the
Howard and Rudd governments.
But Dr Switkowski is confident new CEO David Thodey is taking the right path
in restoring the telco's relationship with government.
Dr Switkowski, who headed Telstra for six years up until Mr Trujillo took
over in 2005, said the American's strategy was never going to work.
The former US telecommunications company executive was famously combative in
his dealings with government, especially over what he regarded as excessive
regulation of Telstra.
Mr Trujillo has returned to the US, as have a number of executives he
recruited to Telstra.
"They were going to confront the regulatory imposition on Telstra head-on
and not only stop the growth of regulation, but in fact reverse it,'' Dr
Switkowski said of Mr Trujillo, his executives and the telco's board.
The "very adversarial'' strategy was played out in public through the media
and involved extensive litigation.
It was much like how regional telcos operated in the US.
"It was never going to work because Telstra in Australia occupies a position
like no other telco company anywhere else in the world,'' Dr Switkowski told
"To create enemies out of two successive governments is a world class effort
and that is what Trujillo and his team succeeded in doing.''
Dr Switkowski said the change in the Telstra management team was a very
positive step and the company appeared more measured in its commentary and
willingness to negotiate.
That was exactly the right approach, he said.