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David Thodey New Telstra CEO

David Thodey the former boss of IBM and of late Telstra Wholesale is set get the top job at Telstra to replace Sol Trujillo who is due to depart on June 30. . The decision was made at a Telstra board meeting yesterday.

Thodey who lives in NSW appears to have topped a short list of four, including one unnamed British executive – and close rival John Stanhope, Telstra CFO and a 40-year veteran at Telstra.

It’s the second time Stanhope has been turned down for the top job: he was pipped by Trujillo in 2005 after the board showed Ziggy Switkowski the door. As late as Wednesday, some news sources were still tipping Stanhope to emerge as the board’s choice.

Others who missed out this time included Sensis (Yellow Pages) CEO Bruce Akhurst and consumer marketing group MD David Moffatt.

At 54, Thodey is four years younger than Stanhope. He has been MD of Telstra’s enterprise and government division, as well as heading up the Kaz services business, and is widely seen as seen favouring a more stable relationship with the government than Telstra pursued under the prickly Trujillo.

His major task – apart from attempting to repair the Telstra share price, which has slid 36 percent under Trujillo – will be to steer a voluntary separation deal ahead of the NBN rollout: something that Trujillo plainly could never have embraced. That course could also see the departure of Telstra chairman Donald McGauchie, who has been closely aligned with the Trujillo view.

Thodey joined the telco from IBM in 2001 as group MD of Telstra Mobile, and has also served as chairman of TelstraClear, the NZ subsidiary. In his enterprise and government role he has been drawing an annual paycheque of around $3.9 million – if the board reward him as they did Trujillo he can expect something more like $13-14 million.