NBN Boss Denies He Was Pushed Out Of Top Job
Quigley, a former Alcatel -Lucent senior executive, rejected Turnbull’s suggestions, saying that with most of the start-up work on the company now done, it was a good time to hand over the reins. “This is the right time for me to be leaving,” he said. “My job was to lay the foundations for the NBN for the next 30 years. That job is largely complete.
“NBN Co is now a well-established wholesale telecommunications company with a nationwide workforce, delivery partners, infrastructure agreements, complex IT systems and more than 40 retail customers which are supplying fast, reliable and affordable broadband to a growing number of Australians.”
Others have suggested that with his major patron, former Comms and Broadband minister Stephen Conroy, out of the government, Quigley had little remaining support in Labor ranks.
Telecommunications industry commentator Paul Budde hailed Quigley’s record, telling CDN that Australia should be grateful to have had “such a passionate person, and highly experienced executive” to get the NBN off the ground.
“This was not a career move for Mike,” Budde said. “He fully understood the uniqueness of this project – the first and only national project of its kind in the world. He also fully understood the national social and economic benefits that the NBN would bring to the country.”
The politics of the position created by the Coalition brought with it tremendous pressure, Budde said.
“While most countries have bipartisan support for such national infrastructure projects, the Coalition in Australia launched a campaign to ‘kill the NBN at all costs’,” lamented Budde.
“Nevertheless, the team that Mike built up around him was able to design both a national NBN as well as a first-class technical architecture around it. While Mike is most certainly receiving the recognition for this, it is a shame that it has been tainted with highly political negativity.”
Quigley received praise from both the Federal Government and industry experts.
In a joint statement, Broadband Minister Anthony Albanese and Finance Minister Penny Wong said that – as NBN Co’s first employee – Quigley had overseen the network’s development from the beginning.
He “was instrumental in negotiating the deal with Telstra which has paved the way for the NBN rollout,” their statement said.
Albanese said it would be up to the NBN board to decide on their new CEO, but added he couldn’t comment on whether this would be before the federal election.
The NBN Co board is said to have enlisted corporate headhunter Egon Zehnder to help find a suitable candidate.
It is understood there are no internal candidates being considered, killing off the chances of NBN Co’s corporate head, former Qantas executive Kevin Brown, and head of operations Ralph Steffens.
The Australian has suggested several local candidates, including former Melbourne Storm and Verizon boss Ron Gauci, former Telstra BigPond executive Justin Milne and ex-Service Stream chief Graeme Sumner.