David Murray will announce his retirement from the Commonwealth Bank in the middle of next week following a near record 14 years at the top of Australia’s largest bank, predicts Elizabeth Knight in the SMH. His successor will be announced at the same time, and she says the odds-on favourite is the chief executive of St George Bank, Gail Kelly, a former Commonwealth Bank executive.
Meet Solomon Trujillo – he doesn’t pull any punches and he makes the occasional faux pas. He’ll the first person to manage Telstra without the shackles of government control once it’s fully privatised next year, say Anne Hyland and David Crowe in the Fin Review, and friends describe him as a workaholic who’s hard nosed but fair, while his peers call him a solid, hands on manager.
It’s encouraging that Trujillo’s c-v includes positions on the boards of PepsiCo, Target, EDS and the US newspaper group Gannett, says Stephen Bartholomeusz in the Smage, because that impressive group of US companies says something about Trujillo’s standing in the US corporate sector. But the investment community’s perception of Trujillo will be crucial, says Bryan Frith in The Australian. How well he communicates his vision and strategy and how he presents in the marketing roadshows, domestically and overseas, will determine whether or not Telstra’s share price gains ground between now and the T-3 sell-down.
Trujillo has started on the back foot after Telstra chairman Donald McGauchie unveiled his appointment at a hurriedly convened press conference while he was at home asleep in California, says the AFR’s Chanticleer. And with the deteriorating industry structure that Telstra faces, he’s got a tough job ahead.
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The appointment couldn’t have been more ironic, says Robert Gottliebsen in The Australian. Around 2000, Trujillo and Ziggy Switkowski both made poor decisions when trying to expand their companies. Trujillo just had more luck than Ziggy, but a good chief executive often needs a spot of luck, says Gottliebsen, and Trujillo has other encouraging attributes.
The Age reports that a record 64.6% of the population aged over 15 is now working or actively looking for a job as Australia’s booming labour market attracts a growing number of older people and women. Last month, the unemployment rate remained steady at 5.1% as a surge in the number of people looking for work soaked up 14,000 new jobs, all of them part-time.
On Wall Street, US stocks were up overnight as investors breathed a sigh of relief after Fed chief Alan Greenspan provided no surprises in his Congressional testimony – the Dow Jones closed up 26 points, or 0.3%, at 10,503. MarketWatch has a full report here.