Former Novell chief appointed Freshtel CEO

O'Donnell behind Novell's open source strategy

IP telephony provider Freshtel Holdings has named former Telstra Victorian Businesswoman of the Year, and Novell Asia Pacific chairman, Rhonda O'Donnell as its new CEO.

O'Donnell has been working with Freshtel in an advisory capacity for the past two months.

She first joined Novell in 2001 as president and CEO of Novell Asia Pacific with responsibility for the management of Novell's entire regional operation spanning 13 markets and employing over 800 staff. She was a member of the company's Worldwide Management Committee.

Announcing the appointment, Freshtel chairman, Ken Loughnan, said over the past two months O'Donnell has demonstrated she has skills, acumen and vision to take the company forward.

"O'Donnell has a strong track record in growing and transforming companies, global experience and deep government and industry connections that will bode well for Freshtel as we continue to grow," he said.

Loughnan is confident she will deliver on the company's strategic growth plan.

"We have now delivered some of the critical areas of our strategic growth plan: we have launched our next generation network V2 - a platform for our expansion in the UK and Europe; signed a letter of intent with a European mobile company and appointed a very capable leader," he said.

"O'Donnell will bring a wealth of business management experience to Freshtel. She transformed Novell from a proprietary to an open source model throughout the APAC region, and has driven new revenue growth over the past three years."

Responding to the announcement, O'Donnell said Freshtel's technology and solutions have the potential to transform the telecommunications industry.

"I am very excited by this opportunity and look forward to using my skills to help this promising Australian company heighten the impact it is having globally," she said.

O'Donnell was the architect behind Novell's global strategy to capitalise on Linux and open source technology in emerging markets and successfully led Novell's expansion into China and India. Novell became the leading supplier of Linux in China during the first half of 2005.

Prior to joining Novell she was managing director of Cambridge Technology Partners, which was acquired by Novell in 2001 and previous to this was managing director of Global Customer Solutions (GCS), a subsidiary of TXU, one of the world's largest energy utilities.

O'Donnell is involved in a number of advisory boards and committees including the Victorian Government's Innovation Economy Board, member of the Victorian Government's Purchasing Board (VGPB); and chairs the Vic ICT for Women Network, a joint Victorian government and industry initiative.

ASX-listed Freshtel Holdings Limited is an Australian Internet telephone technology company that develops and markets VoIP telephony products and services.

Freshtel offers end-to-end white label VoIP solutions to wholesale customers globally through its wholly owned subsidiaries.

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