TalkTalk shares climb after CEO departure announcement

The TalkTalk share price jumped around 8% on the news that CEO Dido Harding is stepping down after seven years in charge.

The departure comes amidst a management shake-up which will see Tristia Harrison, the current consumer business MD, take over as CEO, as well as Charles Bligh, the current MD of the commercial business, move up to COO. Carphone Warehouse founder Charles Dunstone will become executive chairman and Harding will leave the business in May.

“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,” said Harding in a statement.

“I am very proud to be handing over to the next generation of TalkTalk leadership who, together with Charles, have played such an integral part in the success of the business to date. Between now and May, we will work together on a handover that maintains focus on this years’ performance and enables the new team to prepare for the next financial year and beyond.”

While Harding has had a relatively successful tenure in charge of TalkTalk, this record will be tarnished for the cyber-attack which took place back in 2015 and saw the personal data of nearly 160,000 people accessed by hackers. The incident saw Harding and her subordinates take a fair bit of criticism from the Information Commissioners Office, amongst others, and cost the company roughly £42 million.

Alongside the announcement, released its third quarters financials which saw sales decline by 5.2% year-on-year, on revenues of £435 million. Customer adds were down 42,000, however the commercial business saw revenues rise by 30%.

With TalkTalk’s on-going poor performance, and a major incident which arguably kick-started the decline, Harding’s departure will not come as a massive surprise, though it has been received positively by investors.

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