Chairman, Trujillo Group, LLC;
Former President and CEO, U.S. West, Orange SA, and Telstra, Australia
Solomon D. (“Sol”) Trujillo is an international business executive with three decades’ experience as CEO of large market cap global companies in the US, the EU, and Asia-PAC. A digital pioneer operating in the telecommunications, technology, and media space, Sol has been a long-time champion of high-speed broadband and a pioneer and innovator of smart phone and the mobile Internet to stimulate productivity and innovation across all sectors of the economy. Sol currently sits on corporate boards in the US, EU, and China and has managed operations in more than 25 countries – including developed and emerging markets from the EU and North America to China, South Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
- CEO of Telstra Corporation Limited, Australia’s largest telecommunications provider with operations in New Zealand and China – taking on what The Economist called “Australia’s toughest corporate leadership job,” on July 1, 2005.1
- CEO of London-based Orange SA, a major multinational wireless provider acquired by France Telecom in 2005;
- President & CEO of US West Dex Inc., an early provider of digital content, including digital “Yellow Pages”;
- President & CEO of US West Communications and then President, CEO & Chairman of US West Inc., the 14-state telecommunications giant covering one-third the land area of the US, headquartered in Denver, Colorado — now known as Qwest Communications since a merger in July 2000.After becoming the youngest officer in AT&T’s history prior to divestiture, Sol joined US West, the regional “Baby Bell” created by the divestiture, where he became America’s first native-born Hispanic to serve as CEO of a Fortune 150 company. Sol achieved another “first” in 2003, when he took the top job at Orange SA, becoming the first American to lead a CAC-40 company.Regardless of location, underlying technology, or the products or services involved, Sol is a proven innovator. In the media-communications space, Sol is a broadband pioneer and an effective executive with a long string of achievements in this fast-paced, capital-intensive, highly-competitive and rapidly-changing business. More generally, Sol is an innovation-oriented executive with important achievements in marketing, technology, operations, retailing, and business transformations, including M&A.At US West during the 1980s, Sol Trujillo served as state CEO for New Mexico and then Colorado, where he pioneered customer-centric, market-based management approaches to service delivery. In the late 1980s, Sol was tapped to lead a newly-established small business market unit, designed to provide tailored services to more than 800,000 small business owners in 14 western states. As the first President of US West Small Business, he led the market-based restructuring of a slow-moving bureaucratic company with more than 60,000 employees. In the early 1990s, Sol served as President of the Marketing Resources Group, where he pioneered the digital transformation of the directories business – producing the nation’s first digital “Yellow Pages.”1 “A wise move? Solomon Trujillo takes Australia’s toughest corporate job,” The Economist, 25 June 2005.
Beginning in 1996, during his tenure as President & CEO of US West, Sol achieved a string of “firsts” – a record of innovation related to service integration over broadband platforms repeated over the course of his career — including:
- first in the telecommunications industry to deploy affordable high-speed data solutions for Internet customers in both consumer and business markets;
- first to deploy “plug and play” DSL;
- first with an integrated “one-number” digital wireless service that permitted customers to use thesame number and same voice mail box for their mobile, home and office phones;
- first to deliver digital video over copper, and
- first in its peer group in innovation, rolling out 40 new products and services to its 25 millioncustomers during his final year in the top job.This record of innovation in the digital space prompted former U.S. Presidential Science Advisor Jay Keyworth to call Sol Trujillo “the nation’s first digital telecom CEO.”Later, at Telstra, Sol continued with a string of firsts:• first to develop a broadband “plan for Australia”
• first among global incumbents to reverse PSTN decline
• first to deploy wireless high-speed broadband on a nation-wide basis
• first to bring multiple channels of live TV to the handheld small screen of the mobile phone • first to integrate wireless broadband with Yellow Pages and “go to” mapsSol also has a strong track record as an effective executive focused on enhancing shareholder value. Under his leadership, U S West:
- recorded a 65-percent increase in net cash flow;
- attained a 59-percent jump in new product revenue;
- achieved a 60 percent gain in service quality ratings; and
- led its peer group in total shareholder return — achieving more than 200% after his appointment in
1996 and his departure following the merger with Qwest Communications in 2000.In short, during his tenure as President & CEO, U S West’s performance was 2x the S&P Telco and 3x the Dow Jones Industrial Average.Sol achieved a similar record as CEO of Orange SA, where he was able to:
- raise Orange’s margins by 6.6 percent,
- increase revenues by 10.3 percent,
- cut costs by 4.8 percent, and
- grow the group’s customer base by 11 percent.In less than four years since November 15, 2005, when he unveiled a new business strategy to guide the end-to-end transformation to a New Telstra, Sol has been able to move the one-time government-owned Australian telco from the bottom to the top in global telco rankings on many key measures of performance – especially in the wireless space.
- Deployed the world’s largest, fastest and most advanced 3G wireless internet – a broadband network covering 98.8% of the people of Australia in a build completed two months ahead of schedule and under budget at $1.1 billion,2
- Reversed PSTN decline
- Against tough competition, grew market share and average revenue per user (ARPU) in thewireless space – with the introduction of 3G and the integration of content from BigPondbroadband, Sensis online shopping and directories, and Foxtel/CATV news and entertainment,
- Against tough competition, grew market share and average revenue per user (ARPU) in thebroadband space – with the introduction of new content and Web 2.0 offerings,
- Integrated wireline broadband, wireless content, and CATV content offerings,
- Achieved positive churn in mobiles and broadband – for the first time since privatization,In short, with the successful launch of both Next GTM – Telstra’s 3G wireless broadband network – and Next IPTM, Telstra’s business-oriented high-speed broadband network based on Internet Protocol, the New Telstra reclaimed its role as the leading innovator and top technical services provider of the Australian telecommunications industry.Sol’s achievements as a business executive are due in large part to his skills in leadership, team-building and execution – including his ability to:
- identify, attract and retain talent;
- engage with technology pioneers and leaders of allied industries to see and explore new, “over the
- horizon” possibilities;
- convey knowledge, attitudes, and ideas clearly at every level in an enterprise and foster a desire to
- learn and to change habits and practices,
- segment and understand consumer markets and integrate with management systems that can
- anticipate and respond to changing consumer preferences,
- communicate clearly and openly with opinion leaders and shareholders – and achieve a common
- build effective executive teams characterized by skill, diversity, perseverance, creativity, and
- entrepreneurship, and
- execute strategy-driven programs, projects, and initiatives to make things work and get things done on time and within budgets.
Throughout his career, Sol has consistently used market-based management to achieve “customer intimacy” as a strategic advantage and differentiator. According to Trujillo, “Companies that win are those that achieve customer intimacy by knowing consumer wants and needs and executing with that knowledge.” Though The New York Times has described his style as “humble, soft-spoken, and earnest,” Sol is also steadfast in his commitments and resolute when it comes to getting things done.
Sol is actively engaged in corporate governance for both domestic and global enterprises. He currently serves on the corporate boards of Western Union and WPP plc. He has previously served on the boards of Target, Bank of America, PepsiCo, EDS, Move Networks, Inc., Orange, Telstra, and Gannett, the newspaper chain that includes USA Today.
In the public sector, Mr. Trujillo has served in advisory roles at the federal, state and local levels — including trade policy advisor to the Clinton and Bush administrations — and as a member of the International Business Leaders Advisory Group to the Mayor of Shanghai.
Sol is also active in community affairs and civic initiatives at every level and has been ranked by Hispanic Business magazine as one of 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the U.S. Service in the Third Sector includes governor of the World Economic Forum (WEF) for the information technology industry, trustee of Boston College, trustee of UCLA’s School of Public Policy, a director of the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, a California-based think tank that addresses Latino issues in North America.
Sol has also been active at the national level in the US on issues related to technology development, Hispanic affairs, and other public policy issues – including trade policy, immigration, and advocacy on behalf of workplace diversity and the nation-wide deployment of high-speed broadband as an enabling technology to advance innovation across all sectors, stimulate productivity growth, and spur new economic growth and development.
In recognition of his lifetime commitment to workplace diversity, Sol received the Ronald H. Brown Corporate Bridge Builder Award from President Clinton in 1999. His achievements in the privatization and transformation of Telstra were recognized by his selection as “CEO of the Year” for 2008 by Australian Telecom Magazine. Sol received the first Brillante Award for Excellence from the National Society of Hispanic MBAs at the Society’s annual conference and career expo on October 15, 2011. The Brillante Award, the most prestigious honor granted by the Society, was given to Sol for his lifetime achievements and contributions to the Hispanic community, reflecting NSHMBA’s mission “to foster Hispanic leadership through graduate management education and professional development in order to improve society.” Most recently, Sol received the prestigious National Hispanic Hero Award from the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI).
Born in Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1951, Mr. Trujillo earned his undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree with a major in business and a post-graduate MBA (finance) from the University of Wyoming. He has also received honorary doctorates from both the University of Wyoming and the University of Colorado.