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Vocus promotes Ellie Sweeney to CEO as Kevin Russell retires

Vocus promotes Ellie Sweeney to CEO as Kevin Russell retires

Sweeney has been COO since 2019.

Ellie Sweeney (Vocus)

Ellie Sweeney (Vocus)

Credit: Vocus

Vocus Group has promoted Ellie Sweeney to the role of CEO as it embarks on a $1 billion program to upgrade its fibre infrastructure. 

Sweeney has served as Vocus chief operating officer since 2019 and will replace outgoing CEO Kevin Russell, who exits on 1 March. 

Russell has led Vocus for the past five years and spent more than 30 years in the telecommunications sector. 

“Kevin’s leadership over the past five years has returned Vocus to growth and established the company as a formidable challenger in the market,” Vocus chair Penny Bingham-Hall said. 

“On behalf of the board and Vocus team I would like to congratulate and thank him for his significant contribution to the company.” 

She also said that Sweeney’s promotion was a reflection of her contribution to Vocus during her time as COO and her leadership role in developing Vocus’ strategy and momentum. 

“Ellie has proven her credentials as an outstanding business leader throughout Vocus’ turnaround phase and into the current stage of investment and growth,” she added.  

“To have an internal successor as CEO speaks volumes about Vocus’ shared sense of purpose and unity of culture. She will be the ideal leader to see Vocus continue its market-leading growth trajectory as Australia’s fourth-largest telco.” 

Sweeney has previously spent almost 15 years at Telstra over two periods, plus a role at in the interim period at World Directories in Europe. 

Before joining Vocus in March 2019, she was Telstra’s executive director of global enterprise services. 

In her role as Vocus CEO, Sweeney will oversee the deployment of numerous programs, including Project Horizon, a new 2,000km fibre connection from Perth to Port Hedland; Project Highclere, a new 1,000km submarine cable connecting Vocus’ Australia Singapore and other cables. 

She will also oversee the expansion of Vocus’ Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite ground station network and partnerships with Starlink and OneWeb. 

In addition, she will be tasked with the integration of Challenge Networks, which the company is in the process of acquiring. This, Vocus claimed, will enable it to deploy private LTE and 5G mobile networks for enterprise and government customers. 

“I am delighted to be taking on the role of CEO at a time when Vocus is commencing deployment of the most significant telecommunications infrastructure projects in Australia,” said Sweeney. 

“I am excited to be leading the team through the next phase of our growth ambition. At Vocus, we are a challenger that lives by its purpose of ‘building critical connections, enabling better possibilities. 

“In my four years as COO I’ve experienced how critical those connections are – both the fibre connections we construct and the connections forged by our incredibly talented people with our customers.” 

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