Sensis chief Bruce Akhurst steps down

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Sensis chief Bruce Akhurst steps down

Digital media restructure continues.

Sensis chief executive Bruce Akhurst has revealed he will step down in May, just a year after embarking on a major restructure of the directories and advertising business.

Akhurst has spent 15 years in various roles at Sensis' parent company Telstra.

His departure is the latest in a series of executive reshuffles under Telstra CEO David Thodey’s leadership. Chief financial officer John Stanhope and operations officer Michael Rocca both left last year.

Sensis has taken significant revenue hits over the past year, with revenues dropping 22.4 percent to $528 million in the first half of the 2012 financial year.

Telstra attributed the first-half losses to Sensis’ extensive restructure, launched in March last year to achieve “long term profitable growth” in the wake of growing use of online ads and classifieds.

The company noted in February that “the advertising and directories market’s shift to digital marketing is occurring faster than we expected,” causing a growing impact on Sensis revenues.

However, it said the division had made progress in restructuring operations.

In November, Sensis came under Telstra's new digital media group, which also included elements of BigPond, IPTV and Foxtel.

Digital media group managing director Rick Ellis will fill Akhurst’s role while the company hunts for a replacement.

“It is time now for a change and I look forward to exploring new opportunities," Akhurst said in a statement.

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