Trujillo's message: Work for your shareholders, forget the rest

Sol Trujillo works his competitive streak into Telstra.

Telstra's CEO Sol Trujillo has given an insight into the challenges of taking on a business that was under performing, the added complexity of having to achieve targets with an ever watchful government, and then ensuring throughout the process that his commitment to shareholders has been fulfilled.

Trujillo, now two-and-half years into his five year contract, spoke candidly about a range topics to CNN Hong Kong.

"Telstra was a good company, it just over time was getting outdone by all of its competitors. So we came in with a strategy to essentially differentiate the business," he said of the troubled company he first walked into.

But differentiating it has been tough, particularly when it has meant engaging in heated exchange with the government, and regulators.

"If we need to stand for a principle, we will, and that's essentially what we've done in Australia," he said.

"When I first arrived, we had a situation where the government -- I mean the company really ran at the pleasure of the government, which was fine as long as it was the government branch, but once you privatized and you have individual shareholders, that has to change. So we are a principles based company and one of the principles is, we work for shareholders."

He said his competitive streak has also helped.

"I'm a competitive person, so I love winning. And you keep score in business . You keep score by -- are you outgrowing your competitors? Are you're growing your revenues? Growing margins? All that sort of thing."

Trujillo said when he arrived at Telstra his vision centered around technology and how that can be used to create a new experience for customers.

"And it's building a company around a vision or reformatting a company around a vision that hasn't been yet executed anywhere in the world -- that's exciting, that's challenging."

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Howard Dahdah

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