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Telstra appoints IAG's top marketer Brent Smart as CMO


By Danielle Long, Acting APAC Editor

June 30, 2022 | 3 min read

Telstra, the Australian telecommunication giant, has appointed IAG’s chief marketing officer Brent Smart, as its new CMO.

Brent Smart, Telstra CMO

Brent Smart has been appointed CMO of Telstra

Smart is a highly regarded CMO, who is credited with transforming the national insurance company’s stable of brands during his five-year tenure in the role.

Under Smart’s leadership, the iconic NRMA brand has dominated creative and effectiveness awards, including winning Marketing Team of the Year at the 42nd AWARD Awards.

Prior to his time at IAG, Smart was CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi New York and managing director of BBDO in San Francisco.

At Telstra, Smart will be responsible for Telstra’s brand; media; sponsorship and award programs; consumer, small business and enterprise marketing and proposition development; marketing automation and internal design studio. He will report to the new group executive, consumer and small business when they are appointed.

Telstra’s outgoing group executive of consumer and small business Michael Ackland, said, “Brent is a highly accomplished creative and commercial leader with a passion for people and storytelling, coupled with a wealth of global experience from working with some of the world’s biggest brands.”

“Brent’s appointment comes at a natural inflection point as we complete our T22 transformation and embark on our new T25 strategy. Telstra plays a critical role in keeping Australians connected and we’re looking forward to seeing how Brent continues to strengthen the Telstra brand through his work.”

Smart said, “There aren’t many Australian brands that can play as big a role in culture as Telstra. You can feel a real positive momentum in the business, it’s an exciting time to join and I can’t wait to get stuck in.”

Smart replaces Jeremy Nicholas, who was recently appointed as Telstra’s Digital Channels Executive. Nicholas replaced Jenni Barnett, who was appointed chief customer officer at Tabcorp earlier this year.

The appointment is the latest in a string of changes triggered by the retirement of chief executive officer Andrew Penn. Penn will be replaced by the telco’s CFO Vicki Brady who in turn will be replaced by the current group executive of consumer and small business Michael Ackland. Ackland’s replacement has yet to be confirmed.

The appointments coincide with the telco's new T25 strategy, which aims to reinvigorate Telstra and pave the way for growth.

Telstra is currently ranked the second most valuable brand in Australia, according to Brand Finance.

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