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Telstra International boss heads to Flexigroup

Telstra International Group has lost its managing director, Tarek Robbiati, who will become the new chief executive of financial services and leasing company Flexigroup.

The Hong Kong-based Mr Robbiati wanted to return to Australia after five years overseas, according to an announcement released by Flexigroup chairwoman Margaret Jackson.  Mr Robbiati replaces John DeLano, who will return to north America. Mr Robbiati will take on the new role in early 2013.

Telstra International manages Telstra's mobile network in Hong Kong, CSL New World Mobility Group, and Telstra's network of underwater cables, which carry data around the Pacific and across the world.

He is the second Asian-based executive to leave Telstra this month. A director who was hired specifically for his China-based connections and experience, Timothy Chen, resigned in early October after just six months on the board. He wanted to pursue a corporate career in China, the board said at the time.

Mr Robbiati has been group managing director since December 2009 and was previously chief executive of CSL NWM. He was Telstra's deputy chief financial officer from 2005 to 2007.

Telstra will announce a new group managing director ‘’in the near future’’ and Mr Robbiati will work through a transition period, Telstra said in a statement today.

“Tarek has more than 20 years experience in the telecommunications, finance, media and technology industries and we will be sorry to see him leave the organisation," Telstra said.

"He has brought deep insight to the business and helped our company pursue new strategies for our international business across our China, Reach and mobiles businesses in Asia.”

Flexigroup's statement to the market states global recruitment firm Egon Zehnder selected Mr Robbiati for his new role.