Telstra to merge customer service and sales divisions: Midday roundup

Telco giant Telstra will merge its customer service and sales divisions as part of an effort to improve its reputation and prepare for the National Broadband Network.

The announcement of the merger came days after the telco announced an $11 billion deal with the Government that will see it lease infrastructure for use on the NBN.

 “We are investing in a single retail customer-facing workforce that will now be unified in a single team, enabling us to work as one team to serve our customers better, win in the market and become more efficient as we prepare for the National Broadband Network,” Telstra chief executive David Thodey says.

The telco will also establish an applications and ventures group to lead investment in new high-speed broadband businesses. 

“Today’s initiatives are further evidence that Telstra is changing by putting our customers first, building new growth businesses and simplifying the way we get things done,” Thodey said.

Gordon Ballantyne, who leads the sales and customer services businesses with chief marketing officer Mark Buckman, will be promoted to chief customer officer and Stuart Lee has been appointed group managing director of Telstra Wholesale.

Telstra announced this morning that along with M2 Telecommunications the first customers have been plugged into the NBN fibre network.

Emergency debate scheduled over News of the World hacking scandal

British legislators will meet for an emergency debate today over the allegations that News Corp’s News of the World paper was responsible for hacking into voicemail messages of crime victims and Ford has announced that it may pull advertising from the publication.

“Full and continuing cooperation has been provided to the police since the current investigation started in January 2011,” News International said in a statement, according to Reuters.  

“Well understood arrangements are in place to ensure that any material of importance to which they are entitled is provided to them. We cannot comment any further due to the ongoing investigations,” the newspaper’s statement said.

Shares flat on weak Wall Street lead 

The Australian share market opened flat this morning after a weak Wall Street lead following a week of strong trading.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down by eight points or 0.17% to 4590.1 at 12.10 AEST, while the Australian dollar gained ground to $US1.06c.

AMP shares rose 0.62% to $4.87, Commonwealth Bank shares lost 1.04% to $51.24, Westpac lost 0.96% to $21.76 and ANZ lost 0.82% to $21.75.

In the United States the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 12 points or 0.10% to 12,569.

Cattle ban to cost Elders

Agricultural products distribution group Elders said the ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia may hurt the business by up to $7.3 million.

In a statement released this morning the company said the impact will cost anywhere between $4.4 million and $7.3 million in the 12 months to September although that figure is not yet final.

“Further impacts are expected in coming months, the extent of which will be subject to a number of indeterminate variables including the duration of the suspension, the timing and escalation of trade resumption and livestock prices,” the company said.

“Elders will continue to monitor this situation and its anticipated impact, and will update the market in keeping with its continuous disclosure requirements.”



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