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Asia-Pacific Media & Comm moves through Oct. 10: Alibaba, NBN, AIS

S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a monthly rundown of executive and board changes in the Asia-Pacific media and communications industries.

Top moves

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. appointed Gao Xiaosong as chairman of the Alibaba Entertainment Strategic Committee, the company announced Sept. 19. Gao, currently serving as chairman of Alibaba Music, will lead the efforts to expand the Chinese e-commerce giant's entertainment sector on a global scale. Alibaba's entertainment sector includes Alibaba Pictures, Alibaba Music, Alibaba Sports, Alibaba Games, Alibaba Literature, online video service Youku Tudou Inc. and mobile business UC, along with digital media.

* Ziggy Switkowski was reappointed as chairman of Australian state-owned broadband company NBN Co Ltd., The Australian reported Oct. 1. Switkowski will lead NBN for the next three years, seeing the rollout of Australia's National Broadband Network nearly to completion. The project is slated to be finished by 2020.

* Thai telco Advanced Info Service Plc appointed Hui Weng Cheong as president, Krungthep Turakij reported Oct. 4. Hui, who will also continue to serve as COO, has been with AIS for 10 years.

Media industry moves

* Streaming sports content provider Eleven Sports Network named Shalu Wasu as managing director of its Singapore office, the company announced Oct. 6. Wasu will take over the duties of Joyee Biswas, who is stepping down as managing director for Asia. He will report to Danny Menken, the group's managing director.

* 20th Century Fox Television has restructured the management of its international distribution unit across several regional offices, TVWise U.K. reported Oct. 5. In the Asia-Pacific, Richard Samuels was promoted to executive vice president and will lead TV distribution operations in the region.

* Outbrain Inc. strengthened its Asia-Pacific leadership team by appointing Fionn Hyndman as commercial director for the region, B&T Magazine reported Oct. 4. The global online advertiser also named Daniel Kundeus as head of strategic brand partnerships for Asia-Pacific.

* Andrew Backwell resigned from his position as managing director of programming and production at Australia's Nine Network, TV Tonight reported Sept. 28. He is scheduled to depart at the end of October. Backwell, according to the Nine Entertainment Co. unit, will "pursue new career opportunities," and his responsibilities will be divided among several Nine executives.

* Viacom International Media Networks made three executive promotions for the Viacom Inc. unit's Asia-Pacific management team. The company announced Sept. 26 that Paras Sharma, previously senior vice president of MTV, Comedy Central and Paramount Channel as well as digital media for Asia, was appointed senior vice president and general manager for Southeast Asia. Simon Bates, vice president of MTV, Comedy Central and Spike for Australia and New Zealand, will become vice president and head of MTV Asia-Pacific as well as Comedy Central and Spike for Australia and New Zealand. In addition, Kirsty Bloore, research director for Australia and New Zealand, was promoted to senior director of research for Asia-Pacific.

* MGM Studios Inc.-owned MGM TV renewed the contract of Greg Robertson as managing director and senior vice president of MGM's international TV distribution in the region, TBI Vision reported Sept. 23. Under the multiyear renewal, Robertson will continue to be based in Australia and report to Chris Ottinger, MGM's president for worldwide TV distribution and acquisitions.

Communications industry moves

* Malaysian telco Axiata Group Berhad announced that Dato Abdul Rahman bin Ahmad, an independent and non-executive member of its board, resigned from his position, Telecompaper reported Oct. 4. He has been appointed president and group CEO of Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Permodalan Nasional Berhad.

* Liu Zhen stepped down from her position as vice president of Uber Technologies Inc.'s China unit, the South China Morning Post reported Oct. 1. The move, which comes after the California-based ride-hailing service sold its Chinese operations to market rival Didi Chuxing, reportedly raised speculation about internal restructuring.

* Telstra Corp. Ltd. confirmed that 300 back-of-house roles in its retail business will become redundant, CRN Australia reported Sept. 30. The move by the Australian telco is reportedly a result of consolidation with operations to focus on customer service.

* Indonesian telco PT XL Axiata Tbk hired a new president commissioner, Muhammad Chatib Basri, to replace Muhammad Radzi bin Haji Mansor, Viva News reported Sept. 29. Chatib Basri served as Indonesia's minister of finance from 2013 to 2014.

* LeEco announced Sept. 28 that Rob Chandhok, a former senior vice president at Qualcomm, was appointed chief research and development officer at the Chinese tech company's North American office.

* Baidu Inc. named Wu Xuebin from China's BAIC Motor Corp. Ltd. as vice president of its autonomous driving unit, Sina reported Sept. 28. The Chinese search engine is reportedly aiming for mass production of driverless cars in 2020.

* Lenovo Group Ltd. laid off 2% of its 5,500-person global workforce due to ongoing integration with its Motorola smartphone business, Sina reported Sept. 27. It would potentially affect more than half of the remaining Motorola staff who stayed through the acquisition in 2014 and two previous rounds of layoffs.

* Rick Correll, CFO of Vocus Communications, resigned after seven years with the Australian mobile operator. According to a Sept. 21 report by CRN Australia, Correll will remain with Vocus while the company searches for his replacement.

* Facebook Inc. appointed John Wagner as the new country manager for its operations in Thailand, Krungthep Turakij reported Sept. 16. Wagner reportedly has more than 20 years of experience in business management, having previously worked at the Thai wing of the Boston Consulting Group, Citibank and Monitor Group.