Tuesday, July 20, 2004

New Telstra chairman announced, following a three-month search
With Nauru well and truly on the financial skids, the guernsey of cashed-up milch-cow for idle corporates to feed off now belongs to Telstra more than ever.  Thus, after an apparently exhaustive three-month search (= an outside recruitment co. would have made a motza just by going through the motions), Telstra has just appointed “rural businessman” – and existing Telstra board member – Donald McGauchie as its chairman.
OTOH, maybe I am being too cynical here – Telstra may have in-housed its search for a new chairman, and the reason that this process took three months, only to come up with the blindingly obvious, is that Telstra relied on its new Sensis search engine to crunch the recruitment data.  (With a short list of – I’m guessing – six candidates, the Sensis engine could well have been stumped by running out of fingers on the hand that wasn’t doing the counting, and then taking two-and-half-months to get around this road-block, finally hitting upon the idea of counting toes instead, so allowing Sensis to go all the way up to ten!) .  Sensis is the search engine that is apparently so good that it’s going to take on Google, any day now.  So good, in fact, that it only needs about $100m in paid ads to inform the public of its current market-winning excellence – and all this coincidentally coming just before an election.
In terms of who is Donald McGauchie, I’d suggest that time-serving Howard hacks don’t come much hack-ier.  Some of his more interesting current other directorships include asbestos criminals James Hardie Industries, and the Reserve Bank of Australia
As for his “rural businessman” credentials, McGauchie can claim credit for selling the last bale of Australia’s infamous wool stockpile – so proud of his August  2001 achievement in so doing was McGauchie (then wearing his hat as WoolStock Australia Limited Chairman), that he gave out his mobile phone number, presumably so that the adulatory calls could just flood on in.  Earlier, McGauchie was President of the National Farmers' Federation, an organisation whose charter apparently includes the very un-moleskins’n’Drizabone business of slush-funding union-busting litigation.    

Update 21 July 2004
You’ve gotta love corporate uber-suck Robert Gottliebsen sometimes.   Like an over-enthusiastic golden retriever, Gottliebsen can bring home more than his (many) masters want – he just can’t help himself with that tail-wagging, eager-to-lease attitude.  Thus Gottliebsen today names  as the ones who got Telstra’s rolled-gold three month retainer.  Onya guys – you and your easy money will be in my thoughts every time I pay my $30 a month landline “rental” (not to Telstra as retailer admittedly, but – quite unavoidably – to Telstra as wholesaler).   
Also revealed in the Oz today, although by way of passing mention only, is McGauchie’s key role as union-buster in the 1998 docks dispute.   Later in that same year, McGauchie was appointed to Telstra’s board.  Not sure of the exact details of what McGauchie actually did on the docks, and the whether there might be an implication that his Telstra appointment was political payback, but stay tuned on this one.

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