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Thursday, 10 April 2014 16:11

NBN Co in surprise executive clean out Featured

New NBN Co chief Bill Morrow New NBN Co chief Bill Morrow

NewNBN Co  CEO Bill Morrow, in the job barely a week, has made his mark on NBN Co by firing three of its most senior executives.

Chief Technology Officer Gary McLaren, Chief Financial Officer Robin Payne and head of corporate services Kevin Brown will all leave as part of a major management reshuffle. Payne will remain with the government-owned company until a replacement is appointed, while McLaren and Brown will both end their tenures in July.

Their departures are the biggest change since the NBN Co's former CEO Mike Quigley left in October, with the change signalling not only a change in rollout technologies but also a broader cultural shift. The last vestiges of Labor era management are being cleaned out.

Whoever replaces McLaren as CTO will report to COO Greg Adcock, rather than CEO Morrow. Brown’s position of head of corporate services will be split up between chief strategy officer JB Rousselout, who will take over the important negotiations with Telstra, and the incoming CFO, who will also be in charge of procurement.

Meanwhile human resources will be taken over by new chief culture and transformation officer, Brad Whitcomb, who will join on 1 May to oversee an internal transformation of the company. Whitcomb was Morrow’s right hand man at Vodafone, where he was ,chief strategy and business transformation officer.

Morrow has been in the top job for only a little over a week. He was CEO at Vodafone Hutchinson Australia for just 19 months, and is credited with stemming the massive losses – of money and of customers - the company had been experiencing. He announced the changes in a long memo to all NBN Co employees (see page 4).

“A few weeks back, the company communicated our purpose, our goals, and our strategic imperatives. These were used to launch a transformative set of initiatives designed to help us create a better company and deliver on our commitments. This all begins to address the first root cause mentioned above – goal clarity and alignment.

“We will move to a new structure effective 1 May. This new structure is process-based and will emphasise an internal customer-supplier relationship model.”

Morrow also used the statement to reveal the new organisation chart for NBN Co. Reporting to him will be:

  • Chief Strategy Officer, JB Rousselot
  • Chief Operating Officer, Greg Adcock
  • Chief Customer Officer, John Simon
  • Chief Legal Counsel, Justin Forsell
  • Chief Financial Officer, Robin Payne (Acting)
  • Chief Culture and Transformation Officer, Bradley Whitcomb
  • Investor and Media Relations Officer, tbc
  • Head of Regulatory Affairs, Caroline Lovell.

“In an ideal world we would be able to announce all of the changes that flow on from the new structure, however as you can appreciate there is still more work to be done to get this right,” wrote Morrow in his statement. “You can expect to hear more from me and the Executive Committee on the changes as we progress, as well as answering your questions as part of roadshows I’ll be doing in May.”

As we reported yesterday the government said it has issued new instructions to the NBN Co to scrap Labor's fibre-to-the-premise rollout and instead use a mix of new and existing broadband technologies, which will be rolled out faster than Labor's plan but not be nearly as fast for most customers.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann have handed down a new statement of expectations to the board of NBN Co to lock in the government’s “optimised multi-technology mix", as opposed to the FTTP plan that woul have been rolled out under Labor.

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