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February 1, 2017updated 28 Jul 2022 9:50am

TalkTalk boss Dido Harding to step down, Charles Dunstone named executive chairman

Harding ends her seven year stint as TalkTalk CEO.

By Joe Clark

Charles Dunstone has been named the new Executive Chairman of TalkTalk. The boardroom shake-up follows news that current chief exec Dido Harding will step down in May of this year, ending a seven year tenure as CEO.

Dunstone, who owns a 31% stake in the company, will take charge of the company as executive chairman, after stepping down as Chairman of Dixon’s Carphones, a company he founded in 1989 as Carphone Warehouse.

Following the news, shares for the telcom were trading 6% higher at 166 pence, after dropping 32% over the course of the last six months.

The company also experienced a poor third quarter, and announced that revenue growth was 5% lower than expected, down to £435m from the £459m posted in the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

Dunstone said: “Dido has been a tireless, energetic and effective force for good from the day she joined TalkTalk. As a result of her leadership and total commitment to all of us who work here and our customers, she has helped transform TalkTalk into a much stronger business.”

In regards to why she was stepping down, Baroness Harding said: “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.

Harding, presided over the company during the 2015 cyberattack which saw 157,000 customers lose confidential data, with the attack estimated to have cost TalkTalk upwards of £35 million.

The Information Commissioner’s Office fined the company £400,000 for sub par web security, the single largest fine imposed by the department.

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Tristia Harrison, managing director of  TalkTalk Consumer, will succeed Dido Harding as CEO and Charles Bligh, managing director of TalkTalk Business, will become Chief Operating Officer.

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