Monday Musical Chairs

We’ve got several meaty personnel moves to report in the global Yellow Pages business this morning, most of them involving Australia’s Sensis.

The big news is that Sensis has hired U.S. industry veteran Carol Johnson as chief operating officer, directory solutions. Johnson was a longtime sales executive at US West Direct (later Dex Media and now part of R.H. Donnelley) and more recently served in a brief turnaround role at Singapore Yellow Pages.

Johnson is a former colleague of Sol Trujillo, now CEO of Telstra, Sensis’ parent company. Trujillo was once CEO of US West Direct. Johnson will be given end-to-end operating control of Sensis’ White and Yellow Pages operations, both print and online. Johnson will assume the duties of Cam Rojo, the longtime Sensis sales chief. Rojo spoke at TKG Directory Driven Commerce event last year.

John Coates, Sensis’ CFO, has also left the company, along with John King, head of the classified business.

Sensis has recently been troubled by softening results in its print operations, in particular the larger markets, a challenge faced by most incumbent publishers in developed markets. Johnson is a seasoned sales executive with a recent turnaround success in Singapore. We suspect that this experience, as well as her connection to Trujillo, contributed to the decision to hire her.

Sensis has also hired Jeff Avard, currently of European Directories, to become general manager, Sensis strategy. Avard is currently group director, strategy and operations, European Directories. He will leave that post in June to return to his native Melbourne. He begins work at Sensis in July.

Avard’s role as head of Sensis strategy means Gerry Sutton, the current occupant of the strategy post, will move over to concentrate on his role as Sensis’ chief information officer.

And finally, our old friend Simon Greenman, recently departed from RHD, has joined European Directories as its new managing director, online. Greenman held a similar post at RHD and before that with Dex.

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