Bruce Akhurst, has quit as boss of Telstra’s Sensis division after 15 years.
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The shock departure comes after the struggling Sensis division was aligned into Telstra Digital Media business as part of a restructure, announced November last.
BigPond, Trading Post, IPTV, FOXTEL were all placed into the Digital Media unit headed by Rick Ellis, former Television New Zealand boss, as the telco looks to expand digital content, while veteran Akhurst appeared to be overlooked for the job.
Akhurst joined Telstra as General Counsel in 1996 and later appointed to the role of Group MD, Legal and Regulatory before moving to lead Wholesale and BigPond. He worked at Sensis for the last 7 years.
Telstra CEO David Thodey wished Akhurst well in his future and thanked him for his contribution in helping the telco transition from a traditional phone company to a full service information and telecommunications provider.
Despite a challenging print environment, Sensis has managed to maintain strong print revenues compared with its global peers and has started its transition into a fully digital capable media business, Thodey said.
Sensis revenue has slumped according to Telstra’s last earnings call – falling 24% in the final six months of 2011.
The early success of these digital solutions in the marketplace is encouraging, he added.
Rick Ellis will be acting CEO of Sensis during a recruitment process for a permanent replacement.
Akhurst said: “I enjoyed my time as CEO of Sensis. It is time now for a change and I look forward to exploring new opportunities.”
“The Sensis team is executing a significant transformation and building an exciting future for a once traditional print business,” he said.
“I thank my team and my colleagues at Telstra and wish everyone in the business every success in the future.”