Stevens appointed Sensis CIO

The revolving door of Telstra's senior management team has finally slowed, with its $1.8 billion directory and publishing cash cow Sensis belatedly filling its long-standing CIO vacancy with an insider.

Acting Sensis CIO Chris Stevens will now take officially take IT reins, replacing Len Carver who departed unexpectedly in September last year.

Stevens, who previously worked at Westpac, has served with Sensis for about 18 months and was recruited by Carver soon after his own appointment in September 2003. Carver was formerly Visa Australia's head of IT.

Steven's appointment as CIO may go some way to soothe concerns among some market analysts that parent company Telstra had lost focus on Sensis following the sudden departure of Sensis CEO Andrew Day. Financial markets and the press savaged the telco after it was revealed Sensis had attempted to acquire newspaper publisher John Fairfax Holdings, proprietor of the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age.

Day's resignation came only weeks after Carver's, raising questions over Telstra's intended strategy for Sensis when Bruce Akhurst - Telstra's group managing director of wholesale, broadband and media divisions and general counsel - heaped the directory business onto his already-crowded plate. Day's departure was shortly followed in December 2004 by the now infamous sacking by bedside phone conference of Telstra CEO Ziggy Switkowski.

Switkowski was unable to personally attend his own dumping after contracting severe food poisoning at the Christmas party of a multinational IT vendor.

Sensis has proved keenly acquisitive over the last six months, its most recent purchase being Universal Publishers, best known for the UBD and Gregory's series of street directories, for an undisclosed sum. At the time of purchase, Universal's map-set already formed the cartographic backbone of Sensis' location services and search arm, WhereIs.

Telstra, meanwhile, continues to search for a replacement for Switkowski.

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