Commerce Commission: Appointment of Telecommunications Commissioner

  • Paul Swain
Communications and Information Technology

Communications Minister Paul Swain announced today that Douglas Webb, an expatriate New Zealander, will be appointed as Telecommunications Commissioner within the Commerce Commission for a five-year term.

“Douglas Webb has excellent credentials to lead the implementation of the new regulatory regime,” Paul Swain said.

”His extensive experience will give the market confidence in his appointment.

“An international lawyer and Managing Counsel with the World Bank, he will bring a broad intellectual capacity to the position. He has first hand experience of the New Zealand legal and telecommunications environments. Since then he has gained wide ranging regulatory and public policy experience at the World Bank designing legal structures and determining appropriate regulatory systems for a range of countries.

“His previous work experience includes three years for the Asian Development Bank in Manila and 16 years as a partner at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts (formerly Rudd Watts & Stone)

“He will be well suited to making determinations through the use of a rigorous legal framework. He also brings extensive management and financial experience from the World Bank where he supervises over 160 staff and is responsible for the related budgetary and personnel issues.

“Although the Commissioner will perform a specialist role, he will receive full support from the Commission members and its staff. I believe that the appointment of Douglas Webb as Telecommunications Commissioner is a significant step forward for the operation of the telecommunications sector in New Zealand.

“I am also pleased to be able to appoint a New Zealander who has pursued a successful international career and is now returning home,” Paul Swain said.

Douglas Webb is expected to relocate from North America in March 2002.
DOUGLAS WEBB – Curriculum Vitae

Douglas Webb is the Managing Counsel and deputy to the Vice President in the Legal Department at the World Bank. He has over 30 years of legal experience, including 16 years as a partner in Watts and Patterson (latterly Rudd Watts & Stone and now (Minter
Ellison Rudd Watts) and 10 years as a specialist on legal system reform in developing countries. He previously worked for the Asian Development Bank in Manila.

During his time at the World Bank, Mr Webb has advised and made decisions on telecommunications reform, including the design of regulatory systems in a number of countries. More specifically he has advised governments on the privatisation of state-owned telecommunications companies, on the creation and capacity building of independent regulators of telecommunications services, and on the promotion of the entry of private network and cellular operators.

While a senior partner for Rudds Watts and Stone in Wellington (1986 – 1991), Mr Webb negotiated with Telecom NZ to obtain an interconnection agreement to permit NZ Rail to offer telecommunications services to major customers. He represented the consortium of NZ Rail, the Todd Corporation, Bell Canada and MCI Communications in the establishment of Clear Communications as a network operator providing telecommunications services both local and long distance. Mr Webb was also a member of the Clear negotiating team on the first interconnection agreement between Clear and Telecom NZ.

While in New Zealand in the 1980’s Mr Webb was a member of the board of directors of the Medical Assurance Group and served as Deputy Chairman. He was a member of the board of Karori Rotary Club and President of the Club in 1989-90.

Work History

1991 – present Legal Department of the World Bank
2000 - Managing Counsel
1993 - Manager, Legal Reform and Private Sector Division
1991 - Advisor on the privatisation of state-owned enterprises
1986 – 1991Commercial Partner, Rudd Watts & Stone
1982 – 1986Office of the General Counsel, Asian Development Bank, Manila
1969 – 1982Watts & Patterson
1970 - Partner
1969 - Staff solicitor

Education

1970Master of Laws with Honours, Victoria University of Wellington
1969Bachelor of Laws, Victoria University of Wellington