Road to retribution: Can the Telstra share price continue its upwards trajectory under a new CEO?

What will a new leader mean for Telstra’s business?

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Key points

  • Telstra will soon have a new CEO, its current chief financial officer Vicki Brady
  • Outgoing CEO Andy Penn has overseen much change in the business, including Telstra's T22 strategy
  • The telco is now working on its T25 strategy, which aims to grow profit

The Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) share price has risen by around 50% since 30 October 2021.

The telco has been going through a significant strategic shift in a bid to improve things for a while now, with its T22 strategy and the recently-announced T25 strategy.

At the end of March 2022, current CEO Andrew Penn announced that he was going to retire after serving more than seven years in the role.

Telstra’s current chief financial officer (CFO) Vicki Brady will officially take over as CEO on 1 September 2022.

In an interview with The Australian, Penn said:

The fact I’ve been able to create my successor and the chief financial officer successor from within the team, it’s a great team that is very cohesive. Strategies come and go but those things are durable and will mean whatever our strategy is in the future we will be able to respond to.

Review of how Penn performed

Telstra Chair John Mullen has commented on the positive impact Penn has had on the business:

Andy has led Telstra during a period of significant change and will be known for his courage in setting a bold ambition through the T22 strategy to deliver a transformed experience for customers, shareholders and employees.

There is no doubt the strategy has delivered beyond expectations and has laid the foundation for Telstra’s recently announced T25 strategy and a renewed focus on growth and innovation.

Delivery of the T22 strategy has seen Telstra return to underlying growth, achieve significant customer experience improvements, reduce costs by over $2.5 billion and reach high performing employee engagement levels with over 17,000 people now working in agile teams across Telstra.

Those were some of the key objectives of the T22 strategy. Telstra also worked on monetising assets. It managed to sell 49% of its towers business for $2.8 billion.

Telstra acquired Digicel Pacific in partnership with the Australian government for US$1.6 billion. It’s a leading telco provider across PNG, Fiji, Nauru, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu. It has around 2.5 million subscribers, generating US$431 million of service revenue, the majority of which is generated in PNG.

It also bought GP clinical and practice management software company MedicalDirector for an enterprise value of $350 million.

The asset sale and acquisitions came within the last 18 months, so it has been a busy period for the business.

What’s the next thing that could impact the Telstra share price?

Aside from the impending result during reporting season, the telco is now working on its T25 strategy.

This involves expanding its 5G network coverage, improving its customer experience, and growing its underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) as well as its underlying earnings per share (EPS) It also aims to further reduce costs and look to grow its dividend over time. Indeed, profit growth could be key for helping the Telstra share price rise.

While this strategy was devised under Penn’s leadership, it will be the new CEO that is tasked with seeing it through.

Certainly, 5G could unlock new technologies and services that are yet to be invented.

Telstra share price snapshot

Over the last month, the Telstra share price has risen by almost 4% and over the past five years, it has dropped 3%. However, there have been many ups and downs during that time.

Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Telstra Corporation Limited. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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