Andy Penn will finish his tenure as Telstra CEO in September and is being replaced by the company’s current CFO Vicki Brady who will become the first woman to lead the telco.

“With the end of our very successful T22 strategy in sight, and after more than seven years in the role, I believe now is the right time to step down and take on some new challenges in my life, as well as spend a bit more time with my wife, Kallie, family, and friends,” Penn told Telstra staff on Wednesday.

Since becoming CEO in May 2015, Penn led a slide in Telstra’s share price as it made its way down from around $6.20 when he took over to $3.90 when trading closed on Wednesday afternoon.

Penn led Telstra through a debacle with the NBN over its hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) infrastructure, and introduced significant cost-cutting measures that would see Telstra cut thousands of staff.

Last year he apologised to Indigenous customers who were fleeced by predatory Telstra mobile phone retailers which left Telstra facing a $50 million fine from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Penn recently saw Telstra reclaim franchisee-owned retail stores and last year made calls from Telstra’s pay phones free.

He was also hand-picked to chair the government’s industry advisory committee on cyber security which recently made recommendations for how the government should help consumers safely handle cryptocurrency and digital assets.

Telstra Chair John Mullen said Penn helped make significant changes to the company and was focused on driving innovation.

“During his time as CEO, Andy has driven a focus on digitisation underpinned by a commitment to simplifying our products and services for our customers and employees,” Mullen said in a statement to shareholders.

“He has also maintained our leadership in networks, including recently through our investment to lead on 5G.”

Mullen heaped praise on incoming CEO Vicki Brady, who takes over on 1 September, and said it was a sign of the leadership group Penn fostered that Telstra was able to hire its new CEO from within the company.

Brady posted on LinkedIn saying she was “excited, proud and humbled” at the appointment to her new role.

“[Telstra is] an iconic company that touches all Australians and I’m looking forward to taking the reins as we head into the next phase of our strategy,” she said.

“I’ve certainly got big shoes to fill!”

Before joining Telstra in 2016, Brady spent four years working as a director with Optus.

Her annual wage as CEO will be $2.39 million (including superannuation) alongside performance bonuses.