UPDATE: Switkowski named in top Telstra job

In a unanimous decision by the Telstra board, Ziggy Switkowski has been chosen as new CEO and managing director for the giant telco.

Selected from a shortlist comprising four internal candidates, Switkowski replaces Frank Blount , who is returning to the US after seven years at the helm of Telstra.

Switkowski, former CEO for Optus and more recently group managing director for Telstra's business and international division, will begin his five-year term on March 1.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Switkowski said: "I feel a sense of responsibility with regard to what and who has come before me, the great challenges that lie ahead and the key role Telstra will play as telecommunications assumes an increasing presence in people's lives."

Switkowski and Telstra board chairman, David Hoare acknowledged challenges faced by Telstra under Switkowski's leadership including the new telecommunications arena, regulatory, ownership and competitive issues.

"I do not underestimate the task and the challenges ahead," Switkowski said.

"I face them with confidence . . . because of the expertise, the experience and focus of Telstra's senior management team and because of the commitment which I know Telstra staff have to their company."

Switkowski said Telstra will focus on the mobiles, data and Internet markets, with customers and service performance also continuing to be an important focus.

According to Switkowski, few organisational changes will occur at Telstra at this stage, with the exception of filling his position in the business and international division.

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