John Stanhope, the former chief financial officer of Telstra, has been named chairman of the federal government-owned Australia Post.
He has been appointed to the position for four years, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said.
‘‘Mr Stanhope brings to the role extensive experience in finance, commercial strategy and communications technology,’’ Senator Conroy said.
Mr Stanhope began his career in 1967 as a clerk at the predecessor of both Australia Post and Telstra, the Postmaster-General's Department, moving to Telecom Australia after it split from the department in 1975.
By 1995, he was Telstra's director of finance and was deeply involved in the three-stage privatisation of the telco and the marathon negotiation that culminated last year in Telstra's agreement to take part in the national broadband project. He replaces David Mortimer, who retired in September.
He takes up his term as the Australia Post chief executive, Ahmed Fahour, reduces the group's dependence on ''snail mail'' by ramping up express delivery operations and expanding into digital mail.
Physical mail volumes are down 17 per cent since 2008 and Australia Post's regulated mail business lost $148 million in the year to June 30. But non-regulated operations, including express parcels, earned $546 million. The group's overall profit rose by 16 per cent to $281 million.
Mr Stanhope's appointment is interesting given that he was lined up against the government and its National Broadband Company in the negotiations over Telstra's participation in the broadband network - negotiations Telstra is now considered to have driven successfully.
He retired as CFO of Telstra at the end of last year and his experience at the top of that group as it managed its digital transition would have counted in the latest appointment.
Australia Post is also becoming a long-range privatisation contender. The government has not flagged a sale, but Mr Stanhope is well schooled in the process.
Mark Darras has been acting chairman of Australia Post since Mr Mortimer retired in September and will continue as deputy.