TLS 1.27% $3.11 telstra corporation limited.

three cheers for sol trujillo

  1. 6,669 Posts.

    Is it just me, or does anyone else harbour a secret admiration for Sol Trujillo and his Amigos?

    In fact, I want to be the first to nominate him for one of those Businessmen Of The Year awards, perhaps the inaugural "Chainsaw" award for American services to Australian management.

    After all, he has made wimps of other imported US executive shockers like PBL's Al Dunlap and AMP's George Trumbull.

    An award might prevent him from taking his winnings and heading home like all the others, because we could do with his special touch at a few other Australian corporate entities.

    When Trujillo was first appointed there was an element of frustration that yet again we dismissed the quality of our own home-grown executives in favour of a loud American with a questionable CV.

    Yet now it looks like a stroke of genius, as it would be impossible to think of anyone in Australia who could have acted so decisively and independently in such a short time.

    Local executives usually take at least a year to blow themselves up, or worse still get out before the damage is exposed. Nor would any Australian CEO have the cojones to rattle the Prime Minister so effectively.

    John Howard's extraordinary comment that it is the duty of management to ramp the shares rather than tell the truth not only confirms why he shouldn't be allowed near a listed company but raises questions as to what he should be running.

    True cynics might argue that Trujillo is actually working in John Howard's favour by bolstering the case for privatising Telstra and getting it away from inept Government hands.

    Others might think Trujillo is working for all shareholders in preventing a hasty under-priced offering of an asset which the taxpayers already own.

    (The best letter to the SMH this week asked whether the Amigos had now sent the share price low enough to recommend it to their mothers.)

    Whether Trujillo and the Three Amigos are corporate heroes or suicide bombers is yet to be determined.

    For whatever damage Trujillo might have done to the share price in the short-term he has certainly exposed the cover-ups and lies which have apparently supported the Telstra fable.

    For years the media have been subjected to barrages of PR spin from the company and government. One press release, for example, complained that Telstra's "corporate reputation had been unfairly maligned".

    During the nine years I hosted the Small Business Show on Channel Nine no company raised the ire of our constituency more than Telstra. Even bank bashing came a poor second.

    Small business has been overlooked in the current imbroglio as all attention centred on saving "the bush" and guaranteeing rural services.

    Yet for most of the '90s it was small business which led the most vocal campaign against Telstra transgressions. The allegations included everything from bad service to lies, perjury and misleading Parliament.

    You might recall they even formed a pressure group for victims called Casualties Of Telstra or COT cases as they were known. It's now evident that the real cot cases were the ones running the company. And they still are.
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