NBN board gets a shake-up

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NBN board gets a shake-up

NBN Co is on the hunt for a chief financial officer and chief operating officer under an executive shake-up this week.

The restructure, announced to staff by chief executive Mike Quigley yesterday, saw the number of direct reports to the top reduced from eight to seven and the consolidation of key departments, according to revised internal organisational charts obtained by CRN.

It came as Jean-Pascal Beaufret, NBN Co's chief financial officer and Quigley's fellow Alcatel alumnus, announced his retirement from the company, effective from January.

A "worldwide" search for his replacement was being conducted.

The restructure, however, was attributed to the finalisation of contracts with Telstra and Optus along with the passing of key legislation by the Federal Government.

According to an email sent by Quigley to staff yesterday, it reflected NBN Co's "transition from a start-up focused on planning and network design to a company capable of delivering the full-scale rollout of the National Broadband Network across Australia".

"In two short years NBN Co has moved from being an embryonic company to an established business that is ready to build and operate a national network," he said.

It meant that Tim Smeallie, the former Citigroup analyst who led the negotiations for agreements with Telstra and Optus would now report to head of corporate services Kevin Brown, rather than to Quigley directly.

Other major changes included moves by Mike Kaiser, formerly of community relations and engagement, to the newly formed "Head of Quality" role which would include company-wide quality checks and a key focus on customer relations through the company's call centre.

The majority of Kaiser's previous responsibilities had been pushed to a new chief communications officer role to be filled by Telecom NZ marketing head Kieren Cooney when he moves over in November.

Cooney made headlines in recent weeks over an ad campaign that attempted to garner support for New Zealand's rugby union team in the forthcoming World Cup by abstaining from sex. The campaign was promptly pulled and the telco issued an apology.

Another new position was the role of chief operating officer, who would oversee construction (to be fulfilled by former acting head Dan Fleming), network operations, planning, design and internal ICT functions.

Head of new developments Archie Wilson would also move under the purview of the COO.

The COO position remained open and a spokesman was unable to clarify when it would be filled.

Quigley also confirmed that Christy Boyce, a former McKinsey and Co principal who joined NBN Co as head of industry engagement in 2009, had left the company as her position was made redundant in the shake-up.

The majority of her responsibilities had been folded into that of product and sales manager Jim Hassell, who now took on industry relations and regulatory affairs.

Hassell's direct reports would focus on price, revenue and product marketing, as well as the continued maintenance of the Wholesale Broadband Agreement with retail service providers.

A ninth report, covering industry analysis, was yet to be filled.

The restructure appeared part of a wider play by NBN Co to assume responsibilities as a major, government-owned telco, rather than just a network builder.

The company has been tasked with communicating the benefits of the network, a role communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy said the company was previously unwilling to fulfil.

"I am confident that this reorganisation of our management structure will enable us to deliver Australia's largest infrastructure project in an efficient and coordinated manner," Quigley said.

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