Solomon Dennis Trujillo
November 17, 1951
|Occupation||Chief executive officer|
|Salary||A$11 million including bonuses|
Solomon Dennis "Sol" Trujillo (born November 17, 1951) is an American businessman, global media-communications and technology executive. He has served as the CEO of Telstra, US West, Orange S.A. and has held executive positions in United States Federal government and state governments.
Trujillo was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming to Solomon and Theresa (née Lujan) Trujillo. Trujillo attended Cheyenne's East High School and the University of Wyoming, where he earned his Bachelor of Business degree (BBus) and an MBA.
Trujillo was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Melbourne in 2000.
AT&T/Mountain Bell/US West
Trujillo began his business career in 1974 as an economic forecaster in the Mountain Bell division of AT&T. At 32, Trujillo was selected State Vice-President, serving as chief executive of Mountain Bell's operations in New Mexico, making him the youngest officer in the history of AT&T.
Trujillo stepped down as CEO of US West in 2002, following the company's merger with Qwest Communications CEO Joe Nacchio, citing differences in vision between the two. During his time at the company, Trujillo was credited with shifting US West's reputation as the "smallest local phone network" into one focused on high-speed Internet and other technology, such as Voice over IP.
In November 2000, Trujillo became chairman and CEO of Graviton, a La Jolla-based startup that produced wirelessly-connected sensor technology for public and private applications. He was recruited by director Brook Byers, of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. In addition to Kleiner Perkins, other investors in the startup, which raised more than $60 million, included Qualcomm, Siemens, Royal Dutch/Shell GroupIn-Q-Tel, and Sun Microsystems.
At Orange, Trujillo pursued, "an aggressive growth strategy," to combat the large debt load that he inherited. This clashed with the business direction of state-owned France Telecom, Orange's parent, which eventually bought out minority shareholders and absorbed the company.
Trujillo stepped down as CEO of Orange in March 2004, having "accomplished his mandate," and returning to the US. Under his leadership, Orange added five million new customers and grew its revenue profit margins by 10 and 7 percent, respectively.
Trujillo was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Telstra Communications, Australia's largest telecommunications and media company, on July 1, 2005. Amid news of his appointment, The Economist named the position "Australia's toughest corporate job," as Trujillo's mandate was to prepare the firm for Australia's largest public offering in history. The firm, formerly Telecom Australia, was originally state-owned, but saw a minority stake sold off between 1997 and 1999, raising about A$30 billion. Approximately 51.8 percent of the company remained at the time of Trujillo's appointment, which was successfully concluded for A$15.5 billion in 2006.
Telstra's share price had underperformed due to poorly-calculated bids during the tenure of the firm's previous CEO, Ziggy Switkowski, including the purchase of Hong Kong mobile communications operator CSL and the attempted purchase of John Fairfax Holdings, a large Australian newspaper. The state-run telecom business was described as "lumbering," and falling behind its competition prior to its complete privatization, as its fixed-line business was undercut by its rivals internet and mobile services.
Following his appointment, Trujillo announced a five-year turnaround plan based on "principles" to make the company more responsive to shareholder concerns. In addition to trying to streamlining the company's systems and paring down staff, Trujillo sought to upgrade aging networks and systems. This led to the deployment of a nationwide 3G, 850 MHz mobile Internet to replace the then-current CDMA mobile network. The network, built between November 2005 and September 2006, launched in October 2006. The largest and fastest network in the world, the network doubled the volume of total data traffic carried on all of Telstra's wireless networks. After three years on the job, Trujillo was named "CEO of the Year" by Australian Telecom Magazine in recognition of his achievements in the privatization and transformation of Telstra.
Despite its successes, Telstra repeatedly ran into regulatory issues as it tried to grow. In August 2006, a regulatory dispute forced Telstra to abandon a project to build a high-speed fiber-optic network in the country's five largest following a disagreement over how much the company could charge its competitors access to the network. Conscious of his duty to shareholders, Trujillo threatened not to build the network: "My duty is to our shareholders—including 1.6m ordinary Australians. I will only invest where I can earn an economic return."
After a high-profile bid, the company was removed from the bidding process to build a national high-speed broadband network by the Rudd Government. In February 2009, Trujillo announced he would stand down as Telstra's CEO and return to the United States. He was replaced as CEO by David Thodey, formerly head of the government affairs for the company, who insisted that he planned to see out the end of Trujillo's five-year plan.
Trujillo is recognized as a combative CEO who frequently locked horns with Australia's government, but was pivotal in shifting Telstra's position from a government-run monopoly to a more nimble, competitive company.
Trujillo joined a team of directors at Australian mobile phone startup Unlockd in July 2016. The startup, which raised $12 million in Series A funding, partners with telecommunications companies to display advertisements on consumers' devices in exchange for a discount on their monthly bill.
Awards and recognition
- Honorary Doctorate, Whittier College (2017).
- "National Hero of the Year" award by United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) for accomplishments in business and the private sector and contributions as a positive influence and role model for the Latino community (2013).
- NACD Top-100 Directors from the National Association of Corporate Directors (2012)
- "CEO of the Year" by Australian Telecom Magazine, in recognition of his achievements in the privatization and transformation of Telstra (2008).
- Honorary Doctorate, University of Colorado (2002).
- Corporate Recognition Award from A Better Chance, in recognition of his commitment to supporting and advancing educational opportunities for students of color (2000).
- Honorary Doctorate, University of Wyoming (2000).
- "Ronald H. Brown Corporate Bridge Builder Award" by President Clinton for creating opportunities for women and minorities (1999).
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- Delaney, Kevin (February 14, 2003). "Orange Hands Top Job to Trujillo Among Turmoil". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 18, 2017.
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- Delaney, Kevin (March 31, 2004). "Orange SA Chief Executive Resigns". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
- AAP (June 9, 2005). "Trujillo named as new Telstra CEO". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved June 4, 2008.
- "A wise move?". The Economist. June 23, 2003. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
- O'Sullivan, Matt (February 26, 2009). "So long Sol: Trujillo leaves Telstra". Farm Weekly. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
- "Calling Canberra". The Economist. May 11, 2006. Retrieved December 25, 2016.
- Rossi, Sandra (March 27, 2008). "Telstra's Trujillo says transformation is about principles". Computer World. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
- "Mood music". The Economist. November 9, 2006. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
- Ferguson, Ian (November 14, 2005). "Telstra to slash tech costs under review". ZD Net. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
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- zdnet article
- The Australian
- McFarland, Lyndal (May 11, 2009). "Australia's Telstra Names New Chief Amid Frayed Government Relations". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
- O'Sullivan, Matt: Trujillo to leave Telstra in June, The Age, 26 February 2009.
- Bingemann, Mitchell: Sol Trujillo departs for US ahead of schedule, The Australian, 19 May 2009.
- McFarland, Lyndal (May 7, 2009). "Telstra Picks CEO, Chairman". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
- Braue, David (June 23, 2011). "Why Trujillo was the best CEO for Telstra". ZD Net. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
- Adhikari, Supratim (July 18, 2016). "Former Telstra boss Sol Trujillo to join board of tech start-up Unlockd". The Australian. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
- Kruger, Colin (July 19, 2016). "Unlockd: the mobile disrupter that lured Sol Trujillo back to corporate Australia". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
- Ha, Anthony (April 25, 2016). "Unlockd raises $12M to offer ad-funded discounts on your cell phone bill". Tech Crunch. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
- "Whittier College graduation speaker announced". Whittier Daily News. April 20, 2017. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
- "Sol Trujillo accepting USHLI National Hispanic Hero Award speech in Chicago 02.16.13". YouTube. February 22, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- "NACD Directorship 100: Directors". NACD Online. nacdonline.org. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- "The 8th Annual Media, Entertainment & Telecommunication Awards Announced". News Articles. Newsarticles.net. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- "Honorary Degrees, University Medals and Distinguished Service Awards 2001-pres". Colorado University. 2002. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- "A Better Chance Presents Corporate Recognition Award to U S West Chairman Solomon D. Trujillo". thefreelibrary.com. June 28, 2000. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- "University of Wyoming Honorary Degree Recipients". University of Wyoming. 2000. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- "President Clinton Presents Ronald H. Brown Foundation 1999 Corporate Bridge Builder Award to U S WEST`s Sol Trujillo - Trujillo Honored for Creating Opportunities for Women and Minorities". Diversitybusiness.com. November 12, 1999. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- "Presidente Clinton honra a Sol Trujillo de US West". El Hispanic News. November 17, 1999. p. 12.