Telstra nabs IBM exec to head cloud services

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Telstra nabs IBM exec to head cloud services

Telstra has appointed a former IBM executive to lead its Network Applications and Services (NAS) group in Australia, as the current head moves to build the same business in Asia.

The telco has recruited David Burns, a former Telstra account lead for IBM and general manager of global technology services at IBM's British office, to lead the group, which forms part of Telstra's enterprise cloud strategy.

Burns will report to Telstra's chief operating officer Brendon Riley. He replaces Paul McManus, who will report to Burns while building Telstra's Asian NAS business from Hong Kong.

Chief executive David Thodey announced the re-shuffle in a speech to the American Chamber of Commerce in Sydney yesterday.

"As companies are really struggling with how they manage to drive productivity in the business, our NAS business has been very important," Thodey said.

"Paul's heading off to Asia, he'll be based in Hong Kong, to build out our serving of large corporates throughout Asia — this is a very important strategic move for us."

An internal memo to staff from chief operating officer Riley said Burns would be tasked with the "immediate priority" of establishing new client relationships.

"This part of the business is undergoing significant expansion and change as it seeks to achieve and surpass the financial targets that we aspire to achieve," he said.

"[Burns'] proven track record in leading highly profitable global services businesses will be a great asset to our team."

The nascent group recorded a 19.4 percent increase in revenues to $579 million, and $109 million in profits — a nearly 40 percent rise – for the 2011-12 financial year.

It saw unified communications and managed data networks as key growth strategies for the business, while committing $800 million over five years to build its cloud infrastructure.

Thodey said the Asian expansion would build on Telstra's moves to dissolve its ownership early last year in the Reach submarine cable network — a joint venture with PCCW — effectively bringing the assets in-house and providing a base on which to build its corporate capability.

Riley's internal memo indicated that McManus would be tasked with developing a new suite of integrated products and services for the Asian region.

Thodey also revealed Paul Allan, formerly chief operating officer of The Australian newspaper, would replace Bruce Akhurst as managing director of the telco's ailing Sensis classifieds and advertising business.

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