Feeds

NBN Co CEO Quigley retires, won't deny he was pushed

Head of Australia's broadband project says now's the right time to leave

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Mike Quigley, the founding chief executive officer of NBN Co, the company set up to build Australia's national broadband network (NBN), has announced he will “retire from corporate life “.

In a canned statements, Quigley said the following:

“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.

On a later conference call, Quigley did not directly answer questions about whether NBN Co's Board in any way determined the timing of his departure, saying only that he feels the time is right to depart because he's completed the job described above and NBN Co has hit targets that he thinks represent significant milestones. He also said he's spoken to new Communications Minister Anthony Albanese, who's been in the job less than two weeks, and let him know he planned to retire.

But opposition Communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull doesn't believe Quigley has retired of his own accord, and has alleged he was dismissed in the tweet below:

Turnbull's since tweeted that he feels there was "A lot more push than jump in this departure."

Under questioning from The Register, Quigley would not respond directly to Turnbull's charge, sticking to his line that he feels now is a good time to go because NBN Co's foundations have set and the company is moving into a new phase of operations. He also explained that he started to discuss his eventual departure from the CEO's chair many months ago, having done so when Harrison Young was the company's chairman. Young finished that role in mid-March, 2013. Quigley said those discussions were the kind of thing a prudent CEO does so that Boards can conduct proper succession planning.

But Quigley did not deny that the decision was not entirely his own, despite direct questioning to that point. It's therefore not hard to construe Quigley's decision as having other motivations. Other media have reported NBN Co Chair Siobhan McKenna wanted him gone. The departure of Stephen Conroy from the Communications portfolio deprived Quigley of a key ally. And Turnbull has previously stated he thinks Quigley is the wrong man for the job. Quigley was nonetheless magnanimous on Turnbull, declaring his alternative NBN plan impressive and worthy of further consideration ... but that such consideration would mean "very detailed work would need to be done".

Australia's political landscape and looming election mean Turnbull's likely to become Communications Minister by year's end and his statements on Quigley mean an inglorious exit was the CEO's likely fate.

Quigley dismissed many criticisms of the project, saying missed rollout targets can be attributed in part to changes to scope of the NBN. He also defended contractors' performance, saying suppliers always learn on the job and can't be expected to get everything right first time.

"For anyone who has read any history of projects of this magnitude at this scale, it's not going badly," he said.

Quigley will stay at his post until a replacement is found. No timeframe for that appointment has been announced.®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.