Telstra has announced that its chairman Donald McGauchie has resigned, on the same day that the company appointed its new CEO David Thodey.
Donald McGauchie (Credit: Suzanne Tindal/ZDNet.com.au)
McGauchie will be replaced by Catherine Livingstone, who has been a director since November 2000.
McGauchie said that speculation on his tenure was distracting the business. "Telstra's strength and ongoing performance are the paramount priority... Nothing should be allowed to get in the way of David and the management team getting on with the important job ahead of them," he said in a statement.
McGauchie had reportedly recently been under pressure by David Murray, the chair of the Future Fund, to resign.
Despite this pressure, McGauchie maintained today that the board had "every reason" to be proud of what was achieved during the past five years. He recognised outgoing CEO Sol Trujillo and his management team's hard work.
He also patted himself on the back for being able to pick an internal successor to the CEO. "Every board strives to achieve a succession plan worthy of the corporation."
Before becoming a director, his replacement Livingstone was CEO of Cochlear for six years from 1994.
Livingstone has a degree in accounting and has held several finance and general management positions, mostly in the medical devices sectors. She is also a director of Macquarie Bank, Macquarie group and Worley Parsons.
She has been the chairman of the CSIRO, Goodman Fielder and was the chairman of the Australian Business Foundation.
Livingstone praised McGauchie's tenure. "Donald's was an extremely difficult job, handled with great care and professionalism."
Thodey's hotly backed rival for the CEO, the company's CFO John Stanhope, has also been given a seat on the board.