Telstra appoints new chairman and CEO

Telstra today appointed David Thodey, the head of its enterprise division, as CEO to replace Sol Trujillo.

But in a surprise move, chairman Donald McGauchie has stepped down and resigned from the board. He has been replaced immediately by Catherine Livingstone, a director since 2000.

In a statement announcing  the appointments today, Telstra gave no reason for the departure of McGauchie, a former conservative party politician.

His exit, along with that of Trujillo, who leaves on June 30, marks the end of a controversial era in which the two pursued a confrontationist approach towards the government and regulators.

New Zealand-born Thodey, 54, has been group managing director of Telstra’s Business & Government group since 2003. He joined Telstra eight years ago.

He beat out CFO John Stanhope and Sensis chief Bruce Akhurst to win the position.

Thodey was chosen yesterday at a Telstra board meeting in Melbourne.

“The key to Telstra continuing to win and to serve customers will be finishing our transformation that started nearly four years ago,” Thodey said.

Another board member, Peter Wilcox, said he would not stand for re-election. Wilcox is also a director of a building firm James Hardie, which faces more than $1 billion in compensation claims from former staff over the use of asbestos.