Openreach reshuffles top brass, brings in BT bods to make biz more independent of BT

Errr... does that work?

BT Tower photo via Shutterstock

Openreach has shipped in two BT bods to head regulation and strategy at the broadband provider, yet it still hopes to convince regulator Ofcom it can run Openreach as an independent entity.

Openreach has appointed BT's group strategy head Richard Allwood as chief strategy officer, and Mark Shurmer, group director of Regulatory Affairs at BT, to the same role.

CEO Clive Selley described the new roles as part of the commitment "to create a more independent Openreach", according to an update seen by The Register.

In addition Roddy Thomson, Openreach COO, and Jon Hurry, managing director of Customer, Commercial and Propositions, are both leaving the division, according to an update from Selley yesterday also seen by The Reg.

Thomson's replacement is yet to be appointed, while Hurry will be succeeded by Katie Milligan, Openreach commercial director.

The regulator Ofcom intends to force through a legal separation of Openreach from BT after last year identifying failings with BT's ownership model.

Both parties hoped to arrive at a voluntary agreement and avoid getting approval from Europe for a separation.

Openreach hoped to win over Ofcom by making Mike Mctighe its independent chairman and a number of external appointments to its independent board, such as former general secretary of the Trades Union Congress Brendan Barber.

But Ofcom said the changes fell short. One of the main points of contention is the reporting line between Clive Selley and the Openreach board. Ofcom wants the Openreach chief exec to report to the Openreach board, whereas BT wants a dotted line of reporting between Selley and its chief exec Gavin Patterson. ®

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