Arden, director of comms and social responsibility at BT Retail, will remain on the payroll until next February but has just gone on gardening leave.
BT chief press officer Adam Liversage insisted there was ‘nothing sinister’ about Arden taking gardening leave.
Two weeks ago, BT announced it would cut 10,000 jobs by next April. The cuts will mainly affect agency and contract staff.
Arden insisted her move was not part of a redundancy drive. She said: ‘After a bit of a break, I am looking forward to getting back to pure consulting with a range of clients – being able to use my comms expertise, combined with the commercial and organisational experience I’ve got.’
She said that she was inspired to start her own CSR practise having worked on projects such as the introduction of BT 'green' phones: ‘What I’ve really enjoyed doing is linking the CSR story to customers and having an impact on commercial decisions.’
Arden has been at BT for two and a half years. She was previously managing director of Golin Harris for three years.
She has a reputation as a ruthless operator, having cut the headcount in BT’s comms function by 40 per cent. She also oversaw the merger of The Weber Group into Golin Harris during the summer of 2003.
As BT Retail’s top comms operator she oversees a team of more than 50, with responsibility for internal, external and e-comms and consumer affairs, as well as special products and services for older and disabled customers.
For the time being, Arden’s consumer PR team is reporting into consumer deputy managing director Dan Marks.