$12b down and counting, Telstra's Andy Penn hires Nokia's burning man Stephen Elop

Telstra has lost about $12 billion in market value since Andy Penn stepped up as chief executive in May last year. 

So you can understand he's looking to pull every lever he can to reverse the slide. 

As Nokia boss, Stephen Elop entered corporate folklore with his "burning platform" memo: "We too, are standing on a ... As Nokia boss, Stephen Elop entered corporate folklore with his "burning platform" memo: "We too, are standing on a 'burning platform'," he told staff.  Photo: TeMaFoto Oy

A billion dollar bet on the Philippines? Sure, if there's a taker. 

How about a flutter on whatever telco talent is currently floating about on the market? Other than Sol Trujillo, of course. 

So the telco giant announced on Wednesday that it has secured the services of former Nokia boss, Stephen Elop. And the telco industry's man for all seasons, Kevin Russell, who has stints as Optus CEO, and Hutchison 3's CEO, on his resume.

The good news is Telstra won't have to offer the $US6 million signing bonus that Nokia paid to Elop to poach him from Microsoft as "compensation for lost income from his prior employer."

And we assume they won't have to stomach the €18.8 million bonus that Nokia paid him in as he walked out the door in 2013, which was triggered by the sale of what remained of its mobile phone business to Microsoft. 

In between the two bonuses, Elop presided over a massive collapse of the mobile business as Apple's smart phones ate the mobile giant's breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

He also wrote the "burning platform" memo to his employees that has entered corporate folklore, likening Nokia's position in the mobile market to a person standing on a burning oil platform left with little choice but to plunge into the icy dark waters of the North Sea.

"The burning platform, upon which the man found himself, caused the man to shift his behaviour, and take a bold and brave step into an uncertain future. He was able to tell his story. Now, we have a great opportunity to do the same," Elop told employees before the first of his big strategic announcements to the market in February 2011. 

He adopted the Windows mobile platform for Nokia that week. 

The remains of Nokia's mobile business were sold off to Microsoft in 2013 and Elop returned to a senior role at Microsoft. 

Whose taking bets that Microsoft might feature in Telstra's future? 

Got a tip? ckruger@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Related posts