BT rejigs EU lobbying as inquiry looms

BRUSSELS: BT president of European affairs Robin Pauley has reshuffled the telecoms firm’s Brussels lobbying team to improve relationships and tackle regulations in the EU.

Pauley has appointed Stephen Crisp as director of European affairs. Crisp, who has a background in public affairs in BT, has for the past 18 months been on secondment from the company as a personal adviser to UK

environment minister Elliot Morley. He replaces Dorothy Smith, who has transferred back to London after seven years in Brussels with the company.

Pauley has also shifted the international PA team headed by Chris Philipsborn from group communications to European affairs. Philipsborn now reports to Crisp.

The changes come as BT prepares for a European Commission investigation into whether it has benefited from illegal state aid. The commission’s inquiry follows complaints by European competitors that BT and Kingston Communications have been given preferential treatment over the way their networks are taxed by the UK.

If it is judged that the current system of business rates constitutes illegal state aid, the inquiry could hit BT with a multi-billion pound tax bill. On the consultancy side, BT uses Weber Shandwick Public Affairs in Brussels.

Pauley, previously BT group director of communications, took up his newly created role at the end of 2004. His successor, Peter Morgan, is recruiting for the London-based group director of public affairs role vacated by Sandy Walkington.

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