Philip Knox will join NBN Co as its new chief financial officer, the government-owned company announced today.
Knox, whose new role begins on 6 February, in March 2018 took on the CFO role at APN Outdoor (his tenure there ended late last year after the outdoor advertising firm was acquired by JCDecaux). Prior to that he was COO at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. He also spent over a decade as the CFO at Austar until its takeover by Foxtel.
“I am delighted to welcome Phil to NBN Co at such an exciting stage of the rollout,” NBN Co CEO Stephen Rue said in a statement.
“Phil is an accomplished financial executive with extensive experience across the technology and media industries. Phil has an outstanding track record of delivery and hands-on experience across key financial disciplines that will be critical in the final two years of the rollout.”
Rue was formerly the company’s CFO, stepping into the chief executive role last year following the departure of Bill Morrow.
NBN Co has repeatedly said it is on track to complete the rollout of the National Broadband Network by 2020, but in the most recent edition of its corporate plan, released in August, it was forced to revise some of its financial projections.
According to the document, NBN Co expects to peak funding for the network rollout to be $51 billion. Although that is within the range forecast in the previous edition of the plan, it still $2 billion higher than the company’s leadership had expected. As a result, NBN Co said it would seek $2 billion from private sector debt.
The company attributed the changed forecasts to a number of factors. One is its changes to the wholesale prices it charges retail service providers (the telcos that sell NBN services).
Another is the impact of problems with the hybrid fibre-coaxial network, which is one of the key technologies underpinning the ‘multi-technology mix’ of the NBN. In addition to spending more money fixing the HFC network, NBN Co suffered a loss of revenue while it paused sales of HFC services.
A third is a decision to spend around $800 million on improving the company’s fixed wireless service.
Although NBN Co hit its FY18 revenue target, it revised downwards its expected revenue for FY19 and FY20. Rue said last year that the changes to NBN Co’s revenue projections were only “short term” in nature.
“I have keenly watched the rollout of the NBN access network over the years and during that time been impressed at the scale and achievements of the company,” Knox said in a statement provided by NBN Co.
“I’m excited to join NBN Co and play my role in helping to enable Australia’s digital future.”
The new CFO’s appointment followed “an extensive global recruitment process undertaken by an executive search firm,” NBN Co said.