NBN Co appoints two more executives

McLaren and Christian take on CTO and network operations head roles respectively

NBN Co Limited, the company established to deliver the National Broadband Network (NBN) has announced two more members to its executive team.

Gary McLaren has been appointed chief technology officer and will initially be responsible for scoping the technology requirements, including the development of the network, systems and service architecture. He has 25 years of experience in the telecommunication industry with roles in in Australia, Germany and Singapore. Prior to joining the NBN Co, he was lead consultant working on Australia’s National Broadband Network project for Communications Alliance, a leading telecommunications industry association with responsibilities including the development of guidelines and policy for the Australian telecommunications industry.

Steve Christian will take on the role of head of network operations and will be responsible for establishing the operational management and support requirements for the NBN. He has almost 40 years experience in the telecommunications industry, working in various managerial roles within network design for major telecommunications carriers in Australia and the United States. Christian was previously managing director of networks for SingTel Optus, leading the engineering and operation of its fixed, satellite, IP and mobile networks. He has also managed national field operations and consumer, mobile and multi-media networks

Both men will report to executive Chairman Mike Quigley.

McLaren and Christian join a rapidly expanding executive team and NBN Co expects to announce further key appointments to its executive team over the coming months.

Jean-Pascal Beaufret, a former general manager of the French Tax Administration Office, is the chief financial officer on the executive board, a similar position to the one he held at Alcatel-Lucent before a top-level shake up in 2007. He was also the deputy secretary of the international department within the French Ministry of Finance.

Greg Willis will take on general management of program delivery. He joins the NBN board from a similar position in Coles. Willis has industry experience as chief of retail and broadband and online executive at Telstra, and was the chief operating officer in charge of Foxtel’s Pay TV rollout.

Head of industry engagement belongs to Christie Boyce, recently of management consultancy firm McKinsey & Co, where she was principal of the firm’s telecommunications practice.[is she the only woman so far on the board?] McKinsey has previously been named as co-advisor in the NBN implementation study due to be completed early next year.

Former human resources chief at Qantas, Kevin Brown, will fill a similar role for the NBN as well as heading up corporate services. Mr Brown also worked in human resources and business development for telco equipment manufacturer, Nortel, in its offices in Hong Kong, London, and San Francisco, as well as in Australia.

Tim Smeallie, perhaps best known for his criticism of Telstra under Sol Trujillo, has come on board as head of commercial strategy. Prior to this position, he established his own firm (the Numerico Advisory) after leaving his position as managing director of telecommunications at Citigroup. Industry commentators expect Smeallie will handle negotiations with Telstra regarding its role in the project.

Additional reporting by Georgina Swan

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