NBN chief executive, Mike Quigley, steps down

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mike-quigley

The man in charge of rolling out the National Broadband Network, Mike Quigley, has announced that he will be stepping down as CEO of NBN Co after four years in the role and going back into retirement.

He will leave once the board appoints his replacement.

“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,” Quigley said.

“I joined NBN Co because I believed better telecommunications was central to Australia’s ongoing success. I still believe that today.”

Quigley – who was with Alcatel for over 35 years, including being its President and Chief Executive Officer – came out of retirement in order to manage the NBN rollout. However, under his tenure, the NBN rollout has been dogged with problems – including construction delays, not meeting targets or targets being revised downwards constantly, and the asbestos scandal.

His departure also comes when the NBN’s future is in doubt – with the federal Coalition hinting that he might not have a job in an Abbott-led government (plus the restructure of NBN to meet its fibre-to-the-node plans, as opposed to Labor’s fibre-to-the-home).

In a joint statement released by Communications Minister Anthony Albanese and Finance Minister Penny Wong, the Federal Government has thanked Quigley for his role in “helping build the infrastructure Australia needs for the 21st century” and noted that he was instrumental in negotiating the deal with Telstra.

Did he quit, or was he fired?

Malcolm Turnbull, a critic of Quigley, has speculated that Quigley was fired as opposed to retiring. The shadow communications spokesperson tweeted: “Revolving doors at #NBN Co just as there are in Labor caucus. How can project be a success when CEO gets fired”.

As pointed out by Delimiter’s Renai LeMay, such claim could “constitute grounds for defamation” as parliamentary privilege does not extend towards Twitter.