Telstra reshuffles execs amid restructure reports

Telstra has reshuffled its executive team in the wake of a reported board decision to restructure its operations to appease the competition regulator ahead of the carrier's likely full privatisation.The telecommunications heavyweight said in a statement to the market Bruce Akhurst, the company's group managing director, wholesale, broadband and media and Telstra general counsel, has been appointed chief executive officer of the Sensis directories division.

Telstra has reshuffled its executive team in the wake of a reported board decision to restructure its operations to appease the competition regulator ahead of the carrier's likely full privatisation.

The telecommunications heavyweight said in a statement to the market Bruce Akhurst, the company's group managing director, wholesale, broadband and media and Telstra general counsel, has been appointed chief executive officer of the Sensis directories division.

Deena Shiff, the managing director of Telstra wholesale, has been elevated to the post of group managing director, Telstra wholesale.

News of the appointments comes ahead of expected confirmation that Telstra is restructuring its wholesale arm in line with the wishes of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in a move which may go some way towards easing the frosty relations between the two over competition issues. The most prominent clash has been over retail broadband price cuts earlier this year that Telstra's rivals complained put the heavyweight's basic broadband price at a level lower than the wholesale prices they were being charged to access the carrier's network.

The reported decision to proceed with the restructure came at the board meeting last week at which Ziggy Switkowski was dumped as chief executive officer, with his stint due to finish on or before 1 July 2005.

The competition watchdog last month said stronger internal separation of Telstra's wholesale and retail businesses would enable the costs and revenues associated with each business -- as well as transfers between them -- to be identified and allocated more clearly. News reports today have indicated the restructure will see the Sensis directories and Telstra's half-share in pay-television operator Foxtel rolled into a dedicated media and content division.

In other moves announced to the market today;

  • Will Irving, Telstra's deputy group general counsel, has been appointed group general counsel and will report to the chief executive officer.

  • Philip Jones and Justin Milne are to continue heading BigPond, but will now report directly to the chief executive officer.

  • Gerry Sutton, managing director of Telstra Media, will continue to report to Akhurst and will maintain responsibility for content acquisition and development for both Sensis and BigPond, as well as management of the Telstra-Foxtel relationship.

  • Douglas Gration, company secretary, will report to chief financial officer John Stanhope.

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