There are a lot of people being paid a great deal of money to spin for Telstra in the lead-up to privatisation.

They are no doubt very good at their jobs, otherwise they wouldn’t have been employed at a combined fee likely to top a million dollars. But they also share some other common characteristics according to media reports: they have been appointed to advise the chairman and they share a similar ideology to the government.

Ideological closeness certainly adds commitment, but whether it’s always conducive to the very best advice is another question. The very best advisers need to bring a healthy skepticism and a sound respect for other views to their advice – not just a commitment to spinning the shared position.

The new Telstra CEO announcement certainly raises a number of questions about the source and nature of advice being tendered. For a start, the CEO didn’t take part in the announcement. It was left to the chair. This strange state of affairs got a good working over in the Chanticleer column in Friday’s AFR.

It also raises some questions. Did the advisers suggest to the Chairman that it might have been a good idea to have the new CEO there? If he couldn’t be there in person, did they suggest that a virtual presence would be a good promotion for a telecommunications provider about to go back to the market? Did the advisers suggest that perhaps having the chair too upfront might raise other issues when the news was really the CEO?

It may well be that the team of spinners did raise all of these in a bevy of differing deliveries not seen since Warne’s earlier days. If they did, why did the chairman dismiss them all and what does this say for possible limitations on the new CEO’s position as a culture change agent?