Telstra chief David Thodey revealed last week that the telco had appointed John Allan, former chief operating officer of The Australian newspaper, as managing director of its Sensis business.
Mr Allan, who left News Limited last month after six years with the company, began his role at Sensis on Monday.
"John has a lot of media experience, a lot of directories experience and digital experience. We really wanted someone from the industry and there had been a lot of changes at News, and thankfully he became available," Mr Thodey said at an American Chamber of Commerce lunch in Sydney.
In a message to staff, Telstra Media’s group MD Rick Ellis, said: “John joins Sensis at a critical juncture as we work to make Sensis Australia’s leading directories and digital marketing services business.
“His brief will be to deliver on our long term digital strategy, as well as our program to step up simplification of the Sensis business and accelerate digital growth, setting the business on course for success in the digital age.”
Allan said “I am excited to be joining Sensis as it embarks on a clear roadmap to deliver on its digital strategy. Rick recently has unveiled a new executive structure for Sensis and a three year program to support the digital transformation so the ingredients and timing are right for us to deliver even great value for our customers.”
Sensis, which was once one of Telstra's most lucrative businesses, has been under pressure in recent years amid competition from more agile digital alternatives such as Google.
Last year, the division's former boss, Bruce Akhurst, was demoted just six months into his three-year strategy to end revenue losses and transform the unit into a digital information and marketing services provider for small to medium-sized businesses.
Mr Thodey said he expected his newly appointed executive to continue to shift Sensis away from print advertising and towards sales across multiple channels such as online and mobile.
"We've set a strategy, but as you know, any strategy develops along the way," Mr Thodey said.
"I'm hoping John can bring more value to the strategy we've set. But the general direction we are going I don't think will change. We've got to move from print to digital media, and into marketing services. I think we have a pretty clear picture of that, but I'm sure John will add some more value and hopefully a little bit of nuance."