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BT Openreach boss QUITS to quench ambitious thirst

Liv Garfield exits telco for top job at FTSE 100 water company

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BT's Openreach boss Liv Garfield has quit the one-time national telco just two months after Gavin Patterson took over as CEO of the company.

She is to become chief of a FTSE 100 water firm - Severn Trent - after steering the telecom giant's £2.5bn commercial deployment of fibre cabling, mostly via BT's existing copper lines, across the UK.

Fast-talking Garfield, 38, has never served on BT's board and watched from the sidelines as Patterson - who had headed up the company's retail division - assumed the role of chief, after Ian Livingston vacated the position in a surprising move to a senior front-bench government job in the House of Lords.

"It is a huge wrench to leave Openreach but I feel the time is now right to take on a fresh challenge. Our commercial programme to bring fibre broadband to two-thirds of UK premises is almost complete, whilst BT’s public sector broadband partnerships are making good progress," Garfield said.

Garfield added that during her 12-year tenure at BT, she had been able to develop her biz skills under the stewardship of what she described as a "terrific employer".

Patterson said that Garfield would be "greatly missed". She took on the top Openreach job in April 2011 and has repeatedly batted away claims that BT's fibre rollout was monopolistic and bad for competition in Britain.

Critics have recently questioned BT's new-found commitment to television, particularly with the launch of its crashingly expensive sports channel as it attempts to compete with BSkyB.

BT is yet to announce a replacement for Garfield, but her resignation letter is the first significant one to land on Patterson's table. ®

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