‘My focus is not on myself’: Optus CEO dodges Senate questions about reported intentions to resign

Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin has deflected questions in a Senate committee hearing this morning regarding reports she intends to resign following last week’s outage disaster.

Appearing at the hearing, Bayer Rosmarin said she was unaware of any such report, but did not directly address the question from Senator Sarah Henderson if it was true.

“I’m sure you can appreciate my entire focus has been on restoring the outage issue. It has not been a time to be thinking about myself,” she said.

“My focus is on the team, the customers, the community. My focus is not on myself.”

Earlier in the hearing, the Optus head revealed that the telco is discussing over $430,000 in compensation to customers and small businesses impacted by the outage. Bayer Rosmarin claimed that 8,500 customers and small businesses have reached out about compensation, claiming that $36,000 has already been paid.

“I don’t have any details into the veracity of those claims. That’s the information I have as of today,” she said.

“I don’t want to make any commitments on how much we are going to pay. What I am committed to and what our teams are committed to is to have a process to individually engage with each customer on their unique circumstances to evaluate what’s the right thing to do for that customer and to work with those customers and help ensure that they’re set up well into the future.”

Bayer Rosmarin was also grilled by Senator Sarah Hanson-Young at Friday’s hearing, who suggested Optus’ explanation for the outage – claiming it related to parent company Singtel – was rejected by Singtel, with Bayer Rosmarin pushing back, saying it was “not a contradiction, but a clarification”.

Hanson-Young responded to Bayer-Rosmarin: “For a communications company, the communication has been pretty lousy.”

The hearing comes after Mumbrella publisher Adam Lang suggested Optus still have a chance to turn the outage disaster around during an episode of the latest Mumbrellacast, saying “never let a good crisis go to waste”.

Despite calls for resignations, Lang said he isn’t sure that resignations are the answer.

“If a resignation happens, it’s a temporary fix, right? It’ll alleviate some pressure,” he said.

“I think the brand, no matter who’s the custodian of the executive positions, has to be responsible for itself. And in that mind, the board are responsible for oversight and appointing the key executives, so this is really a matter for the board.”

Listen to the full Mumbrellacast here.


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