Harding will step down in May after overseeing TalkTalk transformation but criticised for cybersecurity issues
TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding is to step down from her position in May following a tough couple of years instigated by a devastating cyberattack in 2015.
Harding headed up TalkTalk for seven years, overseeing the company’s transformation into a no-frills quad-play telecom provider, offering superfast broadband, mobile, landline and television services.
She has also been one of the most vocal critics of BT’s continued ownership of Openreach, calling it for it to be become a separate entity.
“After seven extraordinary and fulfilling years, during which we have transformed TalkTalk’s customer experience and laid the foundations for long term growth, I’ve decided it’s time for me to start handing over the reins at TalkTalk and focus more on my activities in public service,” she said.
Harding will be replaced by Tristia Harrison, TalkTalk’s current consumer chief, and Charles Bligh, managing director of TalkTalk Business, will assume the position of chief operating officer. Charles Dunstone will become executive chairman once he leaves a similar role at Dixons Carphone on 1 May.
“I’m excited at the prospect of spending more time on TalkTalk, beginning with delivering another successful performance this year; and I am delighted to announce the promotion of Tristia and Charles to help me lead the business so that we continue to deliver successfully for our customers and our shareholders,” said Dunstone, who thanked Harding for transforming TalkTalk into a “much stronger business”.
Dunstone will be replaced at Dixons Carphone by former BT CEO Ian Livingstone.
Harding’s position came under particular scrutiny after the cyber attack, which cost the company more than £60 million in lost revenue and exceptional costs. More than 95,000 customers left the firm as a result and details of 100,000 customers were stolen.
The ICO slapped TalkTalk with a £400,000 fine for its negligence in failing to ensure there was sufficient protection in place, but Harding was praised for her decision to publicise the attack at an early stage and its crisis management.