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Optus CEO resigns amidst nationwide outage, data breach fallout

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In the aftermath of a widespread network outage that left nearly half of Australia without connectivity, Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, the CEO of Optus, has stepped down from her position.

The telecom executive, who faced mounting pressure due to a tumultuous three-year tenure marked by significant challenges, including a major data breach last year, stated in her resignation announcement that it was in the best interest of Optus for her to step aside.

Ms. Bayer Rosmarin’s departure follows the outage on November 8, which disrupted the mobile and internet services for 10 million Australians and numerous businesses for over 12 hours. The repercussions of the network failure included transport delays, hospital phone line interruptions, payment system shutdowns, and the inability of approximately 200 people to reach emergency services.

In a Senate hearing on Friday, the former CEO disclosed that thousands of Australians were seeking compensation from the telecom giant in the aftermath of the outage. Furthermore, Optus is currently embroiled in a class action lawsuit involving more than 100,000 present and past customers regarding the data breach in September 2022. At that time, it was considered the most significant data breach in Australian history, affecting 10 million individuals. Although Optus attributed the breach to a sophisticated cyber-attack and issued an apology, critics, including the Minister for Cyber Security, contested this explanation, asserting that the company had “effectively left the window open” for data theft.

As Michael Venter steps in as the interim CEO while the company searches for a permanent replacement, Optus faces the challenge of regaining customer trust and confidence. Yuen Kuan Moon, the chief executive of Optus’s Singaporean parent company, acknowledged Kelly Bayer Rosmarin’s efforts during a “challenging period” and emphasized the importance of setting Optus on a path of renewal for the benefit of the community and customers.

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