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Telstra is unifying its troops in preparation for heightened competition brought by the National Broadband Network.

In a series of restructures and appointments, the carrier is galvanizing disparate, sales, service and marketing functions in bid to improve customer service.

Telstra’s company wide sales and retail customer service workforce will be centralized in a single business unit from August 1.

The new unit, Telstra Customer Sales & Service, will be led by Chief Customer Officer Gordon Ballantyne and will be responsible for sales and service to all business units.

Additionally the carrier’s marketing functions will be brought into line and unified under the leadership of Chief Marketing Officer Mark Buckman. Telstra CEO David Thodey said “we are investing in a single retail customer-facing workforce that will now be unified in a single team, enabling us to work as one team to serve our customers better, win in the market and become more efficient as we prepare for the National Broadband Network.”

Telstra has also stepped up to the mark in seizing the content layer opportunities in the post NBN world, creating an Applications & Ventures Group.

Key executive Deena Shiff will lead AVG from 1 August 2011, moving on from her role as GMD, Telstra Business. Thodey said that the new group will invest and partner with other companies and government agencies at the forefront of digital innovation”. Health and education will be key areas.

Will Irving, formerly Group General Counsel, will succeed Shiff as head of Telstra Business and to Ballantyne.

Meanwhile in its wholesale division, Telstra stalwart, 40 year veteran Stuart Lee has been appointed Group Managing Director. Lee takes over from Glenn Osborne who was acting in the role since early this year. With the advent of the national broadband network and the 35 year infrastructure leasing agreement, its parent NBN Co is effectively Telstra’s largest wholesale customer. Aside from managing that relationship Lee will spearhead the separation undertakings.

In other changes Telstra will establish specialised teams to support the company’s growth opportunities in Cloud Computing and Media.

Telstra’s international business unit, headed by Tarek Robbiati, will gain day-to-day responsibility for managing the network assets and Telstra’s Operations business unit will be accountable for providing all back-of-house services for consumer customers.

Telstra will also centralise key internal business support functions with improved accountabilities, eliminating duplication. “Today’s initiatives are further evidence that Telstra is changing by putting our customers first, building new growth businesses, and simplifying the way we get things done,” Thodey said.

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