Telstra's embattled directory and search business, Sensis, is in the market for a new CEO after long-serving company chief Bruce Akhurst today resigned his position, effective immediately.
Telstra confirmed Akhurst's resignation this morning, with Telstra CEO David Thodey congratulating Akhurst for his contributions to the company.
Akhurst said in a statement that he was proud of what he'd done with the business over his many years of service.
"I have been amazed and inspired by the commitment and resourcefulness of our people. The Sensis team is executing a significant transformation and building an exciting future for a once traditional print business. Their talent, customer focus and dedication has been exceptional.
"I thank my team and my colleagues at Telstra and wish everyone in the business every success in the future," Akhurst said.
Akhurst joined Sensis on New Year's Day 2005 during the transition from Ziggy Switkowski to Sol Trujillo. Akhurst had previously held a series of senior leadership positions within the Telstra group, including group managing director of Telstra Wholesale, BigPond and Media Services, as well as a stint as the telco's group general counsel. He has spent a total of 15 years working in the group.
The Sensis business has been in gradual decline over the past 12 months due to an evaporating business model blamed on a slower than expected take-up of its online services. It was most recently collapsed into a newly formed media business unit within Telstra to better align the group's strategy for success.
Despite the downturn, Akhurst did all he could to make Sensis more relevant in the evolving online environment, with various partnerships, deals and outreach events all announced in the last 12 months.
Sensis teamed up with social recommendation company, Yelp, to bring it to Australia last November before announcing a hackfest in partnership with local start-up incubator, Pollenizer.
Rick Ellis, group managing director of the Telstra Digital Media division, will helm Sensis as the company's acting CEO until a replacement for Akhurst can be found. Telstra did not say where Akhurst was headed.