Telstra chairman, Bob Mansfield, has resigned from his position, exposing divisions within the board of the telecommunications giant.
Manfield released a statement to the media claiming that, despite feeling honoured to have served on the board of Australia’s largest company, boardroom politics had forced his exit.
“It has become evident to me recently that the bond of trust necessary for the board to operate effectively has been ruptured,” he said in a statement. “As chairman, I cannot be accountable for the actions of individual directors but I do accept that the board cannot operate as it does now and that the chairman, in those circumstances, bears responsibility.”
Telstra deputy chairman, John Ralph, has stepped in as interim chairman.
The Federal Government welcomed Ralph’s appointment and thanked Mansfield for his strong leadership over the last four years.
A statement released by the office of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Minister, Daryl Williams read: “Mr Mansfield steered Telstra through the opportunities created by the dot com boom and consequential challenges of the collapse of the dot com market."
It is understood that Mansfield supported a planned acquisition of Fairfax, that was opposed by other Telstra board member. The plan was not well received when leaked to news agencies.
Mansfield’s statement has led to a flurry of speculation that his commentary about “the actions of individual directors” that “ruptured the bond of trust necessary for him to do his job” could refer, at least in part, to the leaking of the Fairfax acquisition plan.