Phil Burgess leaves Telstra


Telstra’s public policy chief, Phil Burgess, will leave the company at the end of the month to return to the United States.

Burgess’s departure comes at the end of what he has called an ‘enormously consequential’ three years for Telstra and Australia.

Since joining Telstra in July 2005, Burgess has been responsible for regulatory affairs, government relations, media relations, corporate affairs and the $5.5 million Telstra Foundation.

He mentioned the privatisation of Telstra, introduction of high-speed broadband, and transformation of internal and external communications as highlights of his stint as the telco’s Group Managing Director of Public Policy and Communications.

“The last three years have been enormously consequential for Telstra and Australia - with the full privatisation of Telstra, construction of the world's largest, fastest, and most advanced wireless broadband network and the transformation of Telstra into the world's first next-generation, fully-integrated telco,” he said.

“It was hard for some to give up the idea that Telstra is community property. The cultural change required by privatisation was difficult - both for Telstra and for the government.

“Though we were criticised by some, our new approach achieved important results, including safeguarding new investments like NextG and ADSL2+ from value-destroying regulation, winding back regulation on more than four million copper telephone lines, and the reversal of a $1 billion taxpayer gift to SingTel-Optus,” he said.

Burgess will return to his home in Annapolis, Maryland, in early September to support his wife, whose mother is seriously ill.

He will serve as a consultant to Telstra and advisor to the CEO, as well as resuming his previous role at The Annapolis Institute as an advisor to business and government on matters related to technology and society.

Burgess also has been appointed as a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where he will address the impact of the Internet and advanced communications technologies on consumer behaviour, business practices and community development in the US and around the globe.

“Working in a country and culture not your own is an enormous privilege - and working for one of its iconic companies is a privilege amplified,” Burgess said in a statement.

“My time in Australia and with Telstra has been one of the most memorable experiences of my life, both personally and professionally.”

Burgess’s position as Telstra’s Group Managing Director, Public Policy & Communications will be filled by David Quilty, who has been Telstra's Director of Government Relations since January 2006.

Phil Burgess leaves Telstra
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