Cloud of controversy forms as Telstra sacks CTO

Telstra has sacked Chief Technology Officer, Vish Nandlall, with the executive leaving under a cloud of controversy after only 21 months in the role.

Vish Nandlall - CTO, Telstra

Vish Nandlall - CTO, Telstra

Telstra has sacked Chief Technology Officer, Vish Nandlall, with the executive leaving under a cloud of controversy after only 21 months in the role.

As reported first by The Australian, Nandlall was allegedly shown the door following months of internal pressure, “after he was found to have falsified his CV” amidst “allegations of plagiarism of presentation material”.

Since joining Telstra in August 2014, Nandlall managed the telco’s core IT system, while also launching the Gurrowa innovation co-creation lab for the Internet of Things in Melbourne, alongside leading Big Data and Machine Learning initiatives and investments.

According to his LinkedIn profile, which is alleged to have been embellished, Nandlall is regarded as a “highly regarded telecom visionary”, inducted by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to the "Knowledge Nation 100" for his contributions to the national innovation agenda.

The former CTO of Extreme Networks, Ericsson North America and Nortel Networks denies allegations of misrepresentation however, as outlined in a statement to CRN, and following the allegations, Telstra issued a short statement which only confirmed Nandlall’s departure.

“Vish Nandlall has left Telstra after serving as the company’s Chief Technology Officer for the past 21 months,” Telstra stated.

“Vish launched the Gurrowa innovation co-creation lab in Melbourne, led Telstra Big Data and Machine Learning research and development, developed an Internet of Things incubator to develop medium term consumer solutions and established our joint venture with Pivotal Labs.”

With rumours gathering that Telstra will scrap the CTO role altogether, industry attention now turns to Stephen Elop, two months on from his appointment in the newly created role as Telstra’s group executive of technology, innovation and strategy.

Nonetheless, Nandlall’s departure comes at a time of great challenge for Telstra, with the telco facing industry backlash following a string of outages this year.

Last week, an outage left around 370,000 Australian customers without internet access as a result of a faulty software update and despite a formal apology and $25 credit compensation for the outage, customers took to social media to criticise the telco.

The recent outage follows the commitment of an additional $50 million to implement recommendations into the company’s much troubled network.

As revealed by Chief Operations Officer Kate McKenzie in early May, the review had identified three key outcomes with a number of recommendations now being implemented.

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