AUDI Australia will lose one of its fiercest advocates and the automotive public relations industry one of its most professional stalwarts, with the announcement that Anna Burgdorf has resigned from the German car-maker’s local arm.
Ms Burgdorf told GoAuto that it was the hardest career decision she has ever made and one that she anguished over before accepting that she needed more time with her daughter Violet.
She said that in accepting that a personal ‘timeout’ was needed, she has definitely not ruled out a return to a communications role, which would allow her to continue to evolve and develop her craft with the constantly-changing needs of customers and the media.
“I absolutely love my job, and Audi as a company to work for has been fantastic,” she said.
“The industry is dynamic, competitive and ever-changing, and I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have been supported in my role and in this business, which can be a challenge for women. And that’s certainly something I’m passionate about changing, so my job is not yet complete.
“Automotive gets under your skin and there are some brilliant professionals in this industry, so it was incredibly hard to make this decision.
“However, it will no doubt make returning – perhaps in a few months– to the industry so much easier. I still feel like I have a lot of unfinished business in the automotive sector which is complex and challenging at the moment but certainly a time when so much is changing that it’s becoming more exciting to be involved with by the day.”
Ms Burgdorf, who will leave on July 6, started with Audi in 1997 after previously working in public affairs for not-for-profit and consultancies, including for a number of high-profile property developers and at a national fleet management business where she first cut her teeth with the auto press.
She was general manager of corporate communications at Audi until the position was expanded to include marketing in August last year, which elevated her to the marketing and communications director of Audi Australia.
Audi Australia said it has not yet announced a replacement for the role.
Ms Burgdorf is one of Australian automotive’s longest serving single-brand communications professionals with almost 21 years with Audi in Australia.
She is one of an esteemed group of corporate and public affairs professionals who have weathered the wrath of external and internal forces.
Those who have endured have yet to match Graeme Adam who spent 33 years with Volvo Australia as its head of public relations.
The recently retired Mike Breen was manager of public relations at Toyota Motor Corporation Australia for 30 years and 10 months until his retirement in December last year that coincided with the relocation of Toyota’s corporate division to Melbourne.
David Rowley has been national communications manager with Subaru Australia for 18 years and six months.
Edward Rowe was head of PR at Ateco Automotive for 14 years and seven months before continuing with the company as a consultant, adding up to 19 years and 10 months working for Neville Crichton.
Patrick Neville, now London-based and former head of PR at Toyota Motor Corporation Australia also served 14 years and seven months.
By Neil Dowling