Former Optus chief marketing officer, Melissa Hopkins (pictured) has offered her support for recently departed CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, saying she helped “kill” Hopkins’ “crippling imposter syndrome”.
Bayer Rosmarin resigned as Optus CEO this week after overseeing two high-profile disasters within just 13 months.
In addition to the outage two weeks ago, Bayer Rosmarin presided over Optus’ mammoth data breach in September last year which affected some 10 million customers.
The national press has not held back when it has come to blaming Bayer Rosmarin with The Australian saying her departure would “help Optus move forward”.
Still, not everyone has turned on Bayer Rosmarin. Hopkins, now the chief marketing officer at Seven West Media, who worked with Bayer Rosmarin during the data breach said that the former CEO had been an immense help to her.
“I felt it important today given Kelly Bayer Rosmarin announced her departure from Optus to share this post,” Hopkins said on LinkedIn.
“I appreciate there has been a great deal of commentary over the last couple of weeks around Kelly’s leadership – but I feel that it is important to recognise my experience and time with Kelly at Optus and the profound impact she had on me on my career, as she moves to her next chapter”.
Bayer Rosmarin’s departure was not unexpected, however. Her bruising experience in front of the Senate’s inquiry into the outage would be enough to send most people running for the hills. Falling on her sword on Monday, Bayer Rosmarin said “Having now had time for some personal reflection, I have come to the decision that my resignation is in the best interest of Optus moving forward”.
Politicians from all sides took turns skewering Bayer Rosmarin over her company’s customer communications. The CEO told the committee that because none of its customers could receive updates via SMS or email, the firm prioritised speaking to the media.
South Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young told Bayer Rosmarin that Optus’ comms was “pretty lousy” throughout the affair. New South Wales Senator Hollie Hughes, meanwhile, told Bayer Rosmarin that she should have been “on the phone” with 2GB’s Ben Fordham as soon as she learnt of the outage.
“Crisis comms 101 is being seen to be on the front foot”, added Hughes before telling Bayer Rosmarin that she should have admitted the business had not been able to identify the issue.
Bayer Rosmarin added that the company had a range of pre-approved statements that could be sent out and that its comms strategy was designed to empower the team, rather than wait for Bayer Rosmarin to approve or issue new comms.
Labor Senator Karen Grogan criticised Bayer Rosmarin’s comments before the committee, saying they lacked detail.
“I’m finding a lot of what you’re saying very, very fluffy”, she said.
“It’d be really nice to have some specifics.
“Because we could spend two hours sitting here not actually getting the details that we require”.
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