After months of searching, Optus has filled the role of director of regulatory and corporate affairs with former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's former chief of staff David Epstein.
Epstein takes over the position on 23 April from regulatory and corporate affairs general manager Clare Gill, who has also been acting in the director role since Maha Krishnapillai left Optus in November 2011 for a job with Australia Post's retail unit.
Epstein will report directly to Australian country CEO Paul O'Sullivan and work with consumer Australia CEO Kevin Russell.
Most recently, Epstein headed up public affairs at BHP Billiton in 2011, and before that he was executive of government and corporate affairs at Qantas. Epstein was Rudd's chief of staff while Labor was in opposition in June 2007, but left a year after Rudd took office for the Qantas role in October 2008, according to his LinkedIn profile. Epstein left during what was reportedly a difficult time in the former Prime Minister's office, with eight staffers leaving in just six months.
As his predecessor did, Epstein will negotiate with the government, and appear before parliamentary committee hearings on issues such as the roll-out of the National Broadband Network. Epstein said he was looking forward to rejoining the telco industry.
"This is a very exciting time with Optus setting new benchmarks for customer experience, the roll-out of 4G and the National Broadband Network moving forward. I'm keen to start working with Paul, Kevin and the Optus team on the great opportunities that lie ahead," he said in a statement.
Optus is set to launch its "4G" long-term evolution (LTE) network in Newcastle and the Hunter region this month, becoming the second telco in Australia to have deployed an LTE network after Telstra. As first reported by ZDNet Australia, the company is also looking at cutting hundreds of staff across the business as part of a restructure of SingTel.