Australia's Telstra Recruits New Hong Kong Chief Executive

SYDNEY, June 27 Asia Pulse - As part of a restructure of its mobile division, Telstra Corp Ltd has recruited a former Hong Kong chief executive who will play a key role in its Pacific Century Cyberworks (PCCW) deal.

New recruit Jim Pratt was recently appointed as one of a team of 15 managing directors at Telstra OnAir. Mr Pratt will be working with OnAir executive Tim Buckley who is in charge of mergers and acquisitions for the division, including responsibility for Telstra's $A5 billion ($US2.97 billion) deal with Hong Kong's PCCW.

While the exact details of his role have not been finalised, it is expected Mr Pratt will look after the proposed mobile phone joint venture under the PCCW deal. "While Jim Pratt will be looking after the proposed mobiles joint venture under the PCCW deal, he will be working closely with Tim Buckley who is looking after the whole PCCW deal," a Telstra spokesman said.

The spokesman dismissed as inaccurate a newspaper report that Mr Pratt, a former chief executive of Telephone Co of Hong Kong, would run the PCCW-Telstra joint venture. The appointment was made by Telstra OnAir group managing director Dick Simpson on June 13.

Telstra OnAir will manage plans to set up the regional mobile company in the Asia Pacific region under the joint venture. The PCCW deal also includes plans for an IP backbone joint venture which will be overseen by Telstra managing director global wholesale John Hibbard. Telstra expects to have its deal with PCCW finalised by August 10. Shares in Telstra closed four cents higher at $6.80.