New Telstra CEO: Top 10 least likely

New Telstra CEO: Top 10 least likely

Summary: Let's get serious in the search for a new Telstra CEO. It's time to put Mario, Dr Claw, Sydney Lawrence and George Bush on the list.


commentary Telstra is reportedly looking for a new chief executive, with current commander-in-chief Sol Trujillo said to be on the way out after almost four years at the top.

With this in mind and a grain of salt, we've put together a list of candidates least likely to replace Trujillo, and why they nevertheless would be great for the role.

Dr Claw

Dr Claw

(Credit: DIC Entertainment)

Current occupation: Leader of MAD on the Inspector Gadget TV show

Why he would be great at Telstra: Dr Claw constantly mistakes the lovably bumbling Inspector Gadget as his real nemesis, when it's actually Gadget's sidekicks like his niece Penny and her dog Brain who do all the work. This reminds us of how Telstra sometimes appears to believe that the government is its number one enemy.

Stephen Conroy

(Credit: DBCDE)

Current occupation: Federal Communications Minister

Why he would be great at Telstra: In his current role, Conroy has demonstrated a knack for setting up labyrinthine initiatives that nobody, including the government itself, really seems to want (for example, the internet filter project). In addition, critics say his proposed National Broadband Network has the potential to roll back competition in the telecommunications industry by 20 years. Clearly, he should be working at Telstra.

Ricky Ponting

Ricky Ponting

(Ricky Ponting image by
YellowMonkey/Blnguyen, CC)

Current occupation: Captain of Australia's national cricket team

Why he would be great at Telstra: Ponting has appeared able to completely misuse the resources at his disposal and take a formerly great team down into the chasing pack, thus reinvigoration competition in his industry: not unlike Sol Trujillo's move to isolate Telstra from the National Broadband Network process.

Although Ponting has been able to destroy his own team on the one hand, he has also been able to surpass personal milestones on the other hand, making his sacking appear counter-productive to selectors (in Telstra's case, the board).

Baz Luhrmann

Baz Luhrmann

(Credit: Kate O'Shea/

Current occupation: Film director

Why he would be great at Telstra: As a director, Luhrmann has demonstrated a commitment to overspending, under-delivering and keeping "Australia" in the past.

It's possible, with his passion for love stories, that Luhrmann could engineer a Moulin Rouge-style engagement of Deena Shiff's small business unit and David Thodey's enterprise and government division. There's got to be synergies there somewhere.



(Credit: Nintendo)

Current occupation: Plumber, Nintendo mascot

Why he would be great at Telstra: Mario's physical resemblance to Sol Trujillo is uncanny, and his appointment contains the potential to merge the CEO and chief operating officer roles; Trujillo often referred to former Telstra COO Greg Winn as the company's "chief plumber".

Mario's skills at jumping on people's heads could also come in useful, and who knows? Mario's working class origins could help Telstra placate those testy unions.

Eddie McGuire

Eddie McGuire

(Eddie McGuire image by
Flying Cloud, CC 2.0)

Current occupation: TV host and former Nine Network CEO

Why he would be great at Telstra: In the Telstra hot-seat McGuire would be able to continue a tradition of "boning" troublesome underlings and making only a very select few millionaires.

We'd also like to see McGuire bring his signature Footy Show style (and Sam Newman) to Telstra board meetings, at which all those mysterious decisions are made. Perhaps some Collingwood paraphernalia draped on the plush chairs and a few cameramen to broadcast the intimate details via BigPond Movies.

George Bush

George Bush

(George Bush image by
World Economic
, CC 2.0)

Current occupation: Former President of the United States

Why he would be great at Telstra: Bush would be able to label rival broadband consortium Terria the new "axis of evil". Like Trujillo, Bush sometimes finds it hard to make himself understood in plain English, as anyone who has sat through an 11-hour Telstra briefing can attest. Any survivors from Bush's attacks on Optus and others will be placed in a broadband blackspot outside Australian soil.

Sydney Lawrence

Sydney Lawrence

(Credit: Telstra)

Current occupation: Retiree

Why he would be great at Telstra: In his frequent talkback postings on, Lawrence has demonstrated his even-handed approach and strong understanding of both Telstra and Australia's telecommunications industry. Lawrence began his campaign to replace Trujillo in mid-2006, when he outlined his agenda if he were appointed on the Telstra site Now We Are Talking. "I'd ensure that all services to customers were of a high level," he wrote. He's got our vote.

Gordon Freeman

Gordon Freeman

(Credit: Valve)

Current occupation: Theoretical physicist

Why he would be great at Telstra: Equipped with his Hazardous Environment Suit, Freeman would easily be able to deal with all the flak thrown his way as Telstra CEO. He was educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and clearly has the scientific and technical nous to pull the job off, let alone deal with unexpected situations. And for when things really go haywire, there's always the crowbar...

Bernard Fanning

Bernard Fanning

(Bernard Fanning 3 image by
Riley O'Neill, CC 2.0)

Current occupation: Lead singer of rock band Powderfinger

Why he would be great at Telstra: Who better to heal the rifts between Telstra, the government and the rest of the telecommunications industry than one of Australia's favourite sons? Fanning would move the company's head office to Brisbane and like Trujillo, become a true "Internationalist" by spending a large chunk of his time overseas.

What worthy candidate is least likely to succeed Sol Trujillo and why? Post your comments below.

Topics: Government AU, Telcos, Telstra

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  • We are watching, Senator.

    Certainly agree that Senator Conroy would probably not be the best choice for Telstra CEO.

    Referring to the NBN, if Senator Conroy allows the control of Australia's communication network to pass to foreigners ( and to pay them $4.7 billion to do so) he will certainly need another job after the next election.
  • Get over it Sydney

    It's a global economy these days if you hadn't noticed.

    Telstra has consistently abused its position with the Australian public by overcharging it, so why not let someone else build the network. It could well be better for Australian consumers at the end of the day.

    You need to understand that we are not about to be taken over by the 'yellow peril' if the network is built by Optus or the like.
  • Get over it anonymous

    Yes we are in a global economy.

    So since we are and you gladly accept it, when your job is outsourced overseas, because we are after all a global economy and they can do it cheaper overseas, don't come crying.

    Can't have your cake and eat it too.
  • Is Sydney Lawrence a real person

    I'd always assumed that Sydney Lawrence was the "pen name" for motor mouth Phil Burgess.

    You mean Telstra don't have to pay this guy for his one-eyed, one-sided advocacy of their cause - sheesh !
  • Bring back Dr Phil.....

    That would have all you wet behind the ears OPTUS fanbois cringe.....................

    PS I think Sol has done a great job. A good indicator is that all the Anti Telstra mob want hime gone lol lol
  • Missing Candidate

    You seem to have missed an obvious candidate: the character "SHODAN" from classic computer game "System Shock 2" in your list.

    All-seeing, massively evil and actually partially comprised of a telecommunications network, SHODAN would find its heartless vicious attitude quite an asset when flying in the face of both employees and the general public interest.

    Installed on one of Telstra's primary servers, the SHODAN AI would surely institute an upgraded maintenance program and enhance security at all major data centres (possibly "retiring" the human SysAdmins).

    Additionally, its army of violently insane automatons would be handy for maintaining martial order in Telstra's offices. This would at least lead to legendarily high uptime levels for broadband services, as SHODAN itself needs those for its eyes and ears. After a few gory eviscerations during board meetings (splattering the freshly printed prospectuses with body parts and fluids), nobody would be game to disappoint SHODAN as their supervisor.
  • You can't read

    The person you replied to was talking about building a network - that is a bit hard to outsource to an Indian call centre, unlike customer service roles at Telstra.

    Whilst I am here the main article is also wrong. I would be the least likely person to get the role of Telstra CEO. I wouldn't take the job for gold bars. Whoever does take the role has a royal $hitfight to clean up and no salary is worth the effort that will require.

    A knighthood to whoever is brave enough to take over from Sol.
  • Re: Missing Candidate

    Who said ZDNet readers were nerds? ;-)
  • @ re Missing Candidate

    "Who said ZDNet readers were nerds? ;-)"

    Anyone with half a brain ?
  • lol @ Sydney

    I was SO glad you added Sydney to that list... I love that he can get mention amongst current politicians and nintendo icons just from writing on NWAT and ZDnet!!
  • Pikey

    Bring back Frank Blount. He was the best CEO that Telstra ever had.
  • Amigo

    Another amigo. They're everywhere.
  • Telstra's new CEO

    Ben Martinez