Recently Resigned Australian State Leader Joins Telco in ‘Game Changer’

By Daniel Y. Teng
Daniel Y. Teng
Daniel Y. Teng
Daniel Y. Teng is based in Sydney. He focuses on national affairs including federal politics, COVID-19 response, and Australia-China relations. Got a tip? Contact him at
February 11, 2022Updated: February 11, 2022

Former New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has joined Australia’s second largest telecommunications firm Optus, in a move likely to bolster Optus’ chances of winning more government contracts.

The former premier will be the managing director of enterprise, business, and institutional, and will assist Optus with “delivering on its vision to become Australia’s most loved everyday brand.”

“To deliver on our vision we need to think and do things differently and we need to attract amazing people who bring diverse experiences and new ways of thinking to our industry,” Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, CEO of Optus said in a statement.

“So, I am thrilled to announce that Gladys Berejiklian will join our talented and experienced executive team to help transform our approach to business customers.”

Rosmarin called Berejiklian a “proven leader” who helped guide Australia’s largest state through the pandemic.

“I believe she will be a game-changer for Optus,” she said. “In bringing our business-focused teams together under this newly created role, I truly believe that our collective energies can deliver superior customer outcomes in market segments that continue to be dominated by the incumbent (Telstra).”

Berejiklian said she was excited to join Optus.

“I look forward to working with Kelly and the executive team of Optus who are providing inspiring and innovative leadership in the telco sector,” she said in a statement.

Current tender data shows that market leading telco, Telstra, won nearly AU$100 million in state government work in 2021, compared to the $11.2 million from Optus, according to the Australian Financial Review.

In terms for federal work, Optus lags far behind Telstra with just 85 contracts compared to 571.

Berejiklian was premier from January 2017 until she announced her resignation from politics in October 2021, pending an investigation from the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

ICAC announced it would investigate whether the premier “exercised public functions” in conflict with her secret, five-year private relationship with Daryl Maguire, which was made public in late 2020.

Maguire is accused of abusing public officer while serving between 2012 to 2018 as a state member of Parliament.

In 2017 and 2018, two grants from the state government were promised to two organisations in Wagga Wagga—the Australian Clay Target Association and the Riverina Conservatorium of Music. At the time, Berejiklian was the state treasurer who oversaw the approval of state funding.

ICAC will also investigate whether she breached the public trust by failing to report anything she suspected on “reasonable grounds” to be corrupt conduct and if she was liable to allow or encourage the corrupt conduct of Maguire.