Solomon Trujillo

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Sol Trujillo
Solomon Trujillo.jpg
Born Solomon Dennis Trujillo
(1951-11-17) November 17, 1951 (age 62)
Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
Nationality American
Occupation Chief executive officer
Employer Previously Telstra
Salary A$11 million including bonuses[1]
Predecessor Ziggy Switkowski
Successor David Thodey

Solomon Dennis "Sol" Trujillo (born November 17, 1951) is an American businessman.[2] He was the chief executive officer of Telstra, Australia's largest telecommunications company. He was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, to Mexican immigrants.


Trujillo has a Bachelor of Business degree (BBus) and an MBA from the University of Wyoming. He began his business career in 1975 as a business forecaster for Mountain Bell. He worked as President, chairman and CEO of US WEST Communications, Inc. from 1995 to 2000. In November 2000, he became chairman and CEO of Graviton,[3] remaining until that startup closed. In 2003, he became CEO of Orange SA, where he had served as a board member since 2001. He held that position until March 2004.[4] He was appointed Chief Executive Officer to Australian telecom giant Telstra Communications on July 1, 2005.[5]

During the period of Trujillo's tenure, Telstra's share price underperformed the market by around twenty percent, losing over $25 billion in value[6][7] while customer complaints rose 300 percent.[8] Major factors in the company's share price decline were the global financial crisis of 2008–2009[9] and being disqualified for submitting a non-compliant bid to the National Broadband Network tender issued by the Rudd Government.[10][11]

On February 25, 2009, Trujillo announced he would stand down as Telstra's CEO on June 30, and return to the United States with his family.[12] On May 19, 2009, Trujillo left Telstra and shortly after returned to the US. He was replaced as CEO by David Thodey.[13]

Views on Australia

After Trujillo left Telstra and Australia, he was quoted in an BBC interview describing Australia as racist, backward and like "stepping back in time". During his time in Australia, media commentators and cartoonists repeatedly made reference to Trujillo's Hispanic background including caricatures of him as a "bandido". The group of American executives who were recruited to work at Telstra were referred to, along with Trujillo, as the "three amigos".[14] In the BBC interview, Trujillo cited Australia's "very restrictive" immigration policies and rigid rules on company privatisation as his evidence for the nation being backward and racist. When Trujillo's resignation from Telstra was announced, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd gave an "Adios" response. Trujillo described Mr Rudd's use of the term as "racism personified".[15][16] Trujillo's views on racism in Australia were repudiated by several businessmen and political leaders.[16]

Australia's views on Sol Trujillo

Trujillo's comments that Australia was "backward" and "racist" generated anger and an overwhelming negative view of Trujillo across Australia.[16] The day after Trujillo made his comments about Australia to the BBC, many Australians took to online news sites, television news programs and talk-back radio to voice their opinions, with many stating Trujillo had wrecked the value and brand of Telstra during his time as CEO of the company.[16]


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