The Kemp appointment (as ambassador to Paris) is clearly about Kemp making way for Helen Kroger early who, unlike Kemp, can be relied upon to do exactly what she is told by the current Treasurer, no ifs or buts. Plus his wife is French.

Some Kmart staff have been briefed about the pending purchase of Coles Group by Westfarmers, including the plans to separate key areas of Kmart for attachment to Bunnings (Hardware, Lighting, Garden, Auto & Stationery). Sound & Vision will gain through a massive expansion of that section in Kmart stores (up to 50% of Floor Space). This is expected to happen within 24 months of the deal being finalised.

State public services pay Fringe Benefits Tax on the car perks which are usually part of the salary packages of fat cats. The amount NSW pays is a closely guarded secret, but it is estimated at over $100m pa. including FBT on parking.

Sensis has been read the riot act by Telstra — CEO Sol has been up to speed on Sensis for some time now. The departure of CFO John Coates who fell out with Bruce over forward projections and growth prospects back to Telstra. Sol is understood not to have taken a shine to John King formally of Trading Post in their recent trip to China. Concern focuses on online strategy, and reduced customer spend after migrating from print to online. Also, the lack of any meaningful churn strategy to hold online-only customers within the brands. The concern is that Google is unstoppable and makes Sensis directories in time irrelevant. It’s just a matter of time. The published online traffic numbers only half tell the story. Many of Sensis’s initiatives have failed to gain acceptable traction and most core businesses appear to be in some state of decline. Growth is being driven by rate increases and doubtful local UPSELL options. GoStay, NearMe, LinkMe, Just Listed and City Search are all underperforming. Trading Post problems remain unsolvable. Sensis believes there is an orchestrated attempt by media to undermine any success. This may well be true.

Peter Fray

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