Telstra CEO David Thodey lashed by shareholders over jobs and poor service

    Telstra chief executive David Thodey has copped a grilling from shareholders about jobs going offshore and poor service from its franchised stores.

    The shareholder roadshow stopped in Melbourne on Tuesday and about 300 investors attended.

    Mr Thodey spruiked the company's recent financial highlights, including its $4.5 billion net profit after tax.

    But he came under fire for the increasing number Telstra of jobs going offshore, with one investor suggesting senior executives take a pay cut to ensure jobs stay in Australia.

    Mr Thodey said the offshore moves were part of a strategy designed to deal with customers choosing to use the internet rather than call Telstra directly, and as part of its aspiration to be a global company.

    Several shareholders highlighted what they said was an increase in unsolicited calls from people claiming to be from Telstra.

    Mr Thodey said there was "nothing we can do" to stop them.

    "They are just a darn pest these people," he said. "They ring up and they annoy you - they ring my home as well and they ring at dinner time and you can't get rid of them. They just keep ringing."

    Speaking just days after the hyped Apple iPhone 6 was released, Mr Thodey lamented the increase in demand from customers, which technology is not keeping pace with.

    "I get many letters from customers saying [for example] 'I was travelling between Alice Springs and Brisbane and my mobile doesn't work'," Mr Thodey said. "And we say, 'Well, our mobile network doesn't work everywhere'.

    "I try and remind people that just 10 years ago, we were just lucky to have a mobile phone working in the city."

    The company's 1.4 million shareholders, who had been eyeing Telstra's $4.7 billion in cash, were offered the opportunity to take part in a $1 billion share buyback scheme in August.

    However, the company rejected the suggestion of reintroducing a dividend reinvestment program any time soon.

    Chief financial officer Andy Penn said shareholders should expect "low single-digit growth" in the future, partly as a result of the sale of Sensis directories business and its 76.4 per cent stake in Hong Kong telecommunications business CSL.

    Source: Alana Schetzer September 23, 2014