Jonathan Morphett has been appointed chief financial officer of Austar United Communications, parent company of Australia's third largest pay-TV service, Austar.

Morphett, who takes up the post on August 21, is currently managing director of corporate finance for investment bank Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. In this role he played a leading part in Austar's listing on the Australian Stock Exchange and its negotiations over New Zealand joint venture Telstra Saturn.

Morphett replaces Rob Birrell who is leaving to pursue other business interests and spend more time with his family.