Airservices Australia chief Greg Russell has resigned after almost seven years with the organisation.
Mr Russell’s resignation was effective yesterday. Airservices chief financial officer Andrew Clark will serve as acting CEO until a permanent replacement is named.
In a statement, Airservices did not provide a reason for Mr Russell’s departure. But the air traffic control operator said it “had been known for some time” that he would be leaving “toward the middle of the year,” and said a search for his replacement had been underway for weeks.
The resignation comes a week before Airservices is set to front a Senate Estimates Committee, leading to speculation that Mr Russell preferred to avoid that experience.
Mr Russell received unwelcome publicity earlier this year after newspaper reports revealed that he had run up a corporate credit card bill of $243,702 between 2007 and 2010, including more than $118,000 on hotel accommodation and $21,000 at a single Canberra restaurant. Airservices defended his credit card use, saying it was appropriate for someone expected to travel internationally and host dinners with senior aviation officials. The Sunday Telegraph reported that Mr Russell earned a salary of between $700,000 and $800,000, more than twice that of the Prime Minister.
But Mr Russell has also been hailed for leading a significant transformation of the organisation, including the rebuilding of its asset base, the introduction of satellite-based technology and the introduction of a joint acquisition process with the Department of Defence.