Vicki Brady to step up as Australian operator bids farewell to consumer and small business head after just 18 months.

Telstra on Tuesday announced the appointment of company insider Vicki Brady as its new group executive for consumer and small business, replacing Kevin Russell, who leaves the telco after just 18 months in the job.

The Australian operator gave no reason for Russell’s departure.

"We are grateful for the contributions…Kevin Russell made during his time with Telstra and wish him all the best for the future," said Telstra chief executive Andrew Penn.

Russell joined Telstra as its retail business leader in March last year, at which time he was acting as interim CEO of U.S.-based start-up Collinear Networks. However, he is better known for having served as CEO of Australian telco and Telstra rival Optus for two years until March 2014 and for his stint as CEO of 3UK.

His resignation and Brady’s appointment to the role are effective immediately.

Brady has been with Telstra since mid-2016 when she took on the position of group managing director – consumer.

She joined the company from Optus where she served as managing director of marketing and products in Australia.

"Vicki brings a wealth of experience and in-depth knowledge in the Australian telecommunications sector," Penn said.

"Since joining Telstra, she has proven herself leading our contact centres, stores, digital channels, business centres, licensee and partner arrangements as well as demonstrating an unrelenting focus on customer experience," he added.

Brady will take responsibility for Telstra’s consumer, small business, channels to market and product functions as well as customer experience programmes. She will report directly to Penn and will join the CEO leadership team.

"She has a strong track record of improving customer experiences, leading product simplification and delivering outstanding commercial results," Penn said.

His words are not dissimilar to those he and Russell used when the latter’s appointment was announced last year…