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Veteran telecoms industry executive Ted Pretty has been appointed managing director of Hills Holdings (ASX: HIL), replacing Graham Twartz, who is retiring.

Hills chair, Jennifer Hill-Ling, said that Pretty's appointment was the culmination of several months of succession planning including conducting an external search. Pretty will start on 3 September.

Hill-Ling said: "Mr Pretty was a group managing director at Telstra for eight years where he led Technology Innovation and Products, and for four years he was the global head of telecommunications at Macquarie Capital. Most recently, Mr Pretty was group chief executive officer at Gulf Finance House BSC and a strategic advisor to Mahindra Group, one of India's largest industrial and technical companies."

She added: "Mr Pretty is an experienced executive with a strong record in strategic, financial and operational leadership. He shares our confidence that Hills has a real opportunity for rapid growth in our Electronics and Communications division and that there is significant potential to fulfil in our Lifestyle and Sustainability division. His experience with Mahindra Group will give him clear insights into the opportunities within the Building and Industrial Division."

In fact Pretty's involvement in Australian telecoms goes back more than 20 years to the formation of Optus. As a partner in Sydney law firm Gilbert and Tobin he has engaged by one of the founding shareholders of Optus, US telco Bell South (now part of AT&T), to represent it on the Optus board. He joined Telstra in 1997 and was at one point chairman of Sensis. He is presently on the board of data centre operator, NextDC.

Pretty said "I have admired Hills as a trusted enterprise that is the custodian of iconic products and brands which is diversifying its revenue base and seeking new growth opportunities in the communications and lifestyle and sustainability sectors.

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