Who exactly works for NBN Co?

Who exactly works for NBN Co?

Summary: Who exactly works for the NBN Co? We've put together a comprehensive staff directory that shows some surprising trends amongst the start-up's new employees.


The most watched start-up in the country has quietly ramped up its acquisition of skills over the past few months, capitalising on recent upheaval that has occurred at some of Australia's most iconic companies.

NBN Co has taken a pragmatic but almost polite approach to hiring staff, prising away senior and mid-tier executives from Telstra, Qantas, 3 Mobile and Vodafone Australia, which have all undergone major executive reshuffles in the past year.

Network pricing knowledge has largely been drawn from those with similar backgrounds at Telstra. Not surprisingly, seven out of 24 of its recently appointed executives have worked with Telstra at some stage, adding to the likes of Tasmania NBN boss, Doug Campbell, former Telstra Country Wide general manager.

Last November Matthew Lobb, who yesterday sat with NBN Co chief, Mike Quigley, at its Sydney industry briefing, had joined NBN Co in an advisory capacity. Lobb has seven years under his belt as a Telstra director of consumer and channel pricing.

NBN Co has also taken on a former advisor from Henry Ergas' now-bust Concept Economics, Dieter Schadt, whose contribution to a highly sceptical study of the NBN Co's financial viability didn't stop his appointment as a pricing architect for the company. Like Lobb, Schadt's background includes a stint as a Telstra director of wholesale pricing during Ziggy Switkowski's leadership at Telstra.

NBN Co also nabbed former Ovum analyst and Telstra fixed-line pricing architect, Tony Nielson, who took up a similar role with NBN Co in December last year. Nielson described his role as "developing pricing models for wholesale products to be delivered over NBN's FTTH network" on LinkedIn.

More recently NBN Co added to its implementation team, Tony Cross, who until this month was Telstra's general manager of "access technology". Cross was not senior enough to be a direct report of Telstra's network boss and acting chief operating officer, Michael Rocca, but he helped build Telstra's Greenfield fibre to the home product, Velocity, and had a hand in its HFC upgrade in Melbourne. Both projects were a part of its $1.5 billion Next IP core systems revamp, which is winding up now.

The September appointment of Kevin Brown, Qantas' former head of "People" came shortly after the airline ushered in its new leadership team under Alan Joyce last year. One of the first internal projects NBN Co is set to embark upon is establishing its HR systems — a task Brown is well-versed, having weathered the trials involved in Qantas' long-running Oracle-based EQ system implementation.

Fellow former flying kangaroo HR executive, David Auld, who had a brief stint as head of Jetstar's People division in 2004 before returning to his Qantas roots, also joined NBN Co this month as its general manager of training. At Qantas he handled remuneration and management incentive schemes.

True to its form for targeting companies facing major upheaval, NBN Co also plucked from Nortel Networks' pool after it unravelled last year. Trevor Hoggan, Nortel's lead carrier sales executive for the Asian region, joined NBN Co a month after Qantas' Brown. Both had worked for Nortel at the same time. Hoggan now works under Brown as NBN Co's general manager of workforce planning and sourcing.

NBN Co has taken a pragmatic but almost polite approach to hiring staff, prising away senior and mid-tier executives from Telstra, Qantas, 3 Mobile and Vodafone Australia, which have all undergone major executive reshuffles in the past year.

The merger between Vodafone and Hutchison's 3 Mobile was a fortuitous event for NBN Co's network team. Network technology skills were also acquired early on in NBN Co's life, with key executives making the leap when the newly-merged Vodafone Hutchison Australia asked all its employees to reapply for their existing positions.

Besides NBN Co's head of network operations, Steve Christian, Optus' former head of networks, Australia's stable number two telco has only a light showing in the initial line-up of top- and mid-tier executives. Still, Optus is embedded within NBN Co, with 3 Mobile's former general manager of networks Peter Ferris, who now heads up the NBN Co's design and planning across "fibre, terrestrial and satellite wireless" components, has over 40 years under his belt in the industry, including as Optus' general manager of technology and planning between 2004 and 2008. Ferris had been an advocate of WiMax technology at the time the then-Howard Government's OPEL (Optus, Elders) deal was still alive. Ferris joined the telecommunications sector at Telstra's Post-Master General's department in 1972, a few years after the telco's acting chief operating officer, Michael Rocca, joined the unit.

Gareth Simmons, Vodafone's general manager of technology has become NBN Co's general manager of "commercial networks", along with Landry Fevre, also in commercial strategy, while Vodafone's general manager of taxation Robert Kenn also took the NBN leap of faith.

Following the "lemon detox diet" ordered for Qantas in the latter part of 2009 when it hived off IT jobs to IBM, NBN Co hired Qantas' Suzie Gorgievski, now NBN Co's IT procurement officer.

IT skills have also come from AAPT. While the NBN sceptic, AAPT boss Paul Broad, may not be a fan of the NBN, some of AAPT's IT staff have taken the Quigley leap of faith. Besides NBN Co's chief information officer Claire Rawlins, who had consulted on several "transformation" projects at AAPT, Greg Tilton and Kevin Morgan also joined late last year.

Tilton had been chief technology officer of a small AAPT subsidiary IProvide during the time NBN Co's current chief technology officer, Gary McLaren, was its director. Tilton is now NBN Co's general manager of systems architecture and technology, while Morgan joined NBN Co in November as a business and operational systems architect.

Name Current title Previous employer
Mike Quigley Chief executive officer Alcatel-Lucent
Jean-Pascal Beaufret Chief financial officer Alcatel-Lucent
Christy Boyce Head of Industry Engagement McKinsey and Co
Kevin Brown Chief HR officer and head of Corporate Services Qantas
Steve Christian Head of Network Operations SingTel Optus
Tim Smeallie Head of Commercial Strategy Citibank, AAPT
Greg Willis Head of Program Management Coles; Telstra Media, Broadband and Online Services
Doug Campbell Chief executive of NBN Tasmania Telstra (GM Country Wide); Acacia
Adrian Inch General manager of NBN Tasmania Ovum, Telstra
Gary McLaren Chief technology officer Comms Alliance, IProvide (AAPT)
Trevor Hoggan GM workforce planning and sourcing Nortel Networks
Peter Ferris General manager of design and planning 3 Mobile; Optus since 1999; PMG/Telstra since 1992
Gareth Simmons General manager of commercial networks Vodafone
Landry Fevre Commercial strategy Vodafone
Tony Cross GM Network Architecture and Technology Telstra
Dieter Schadt GM Pricing Concept economics
Mike Kaiser Government relations Queensland Premier Anna Bligh's chief of staff
Alex Grime Planning manager SingTel Optus
Claire Rawlins Chief information officer AAPT, BT
Matthew Lobb Telecommunications Regulatory and Pricing Professional Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh; NSW minister for Transport and Roads, Carl Scully
Tony Nielson Telecommunications Regulatory and Pricing Professional Ovum, Telstra
Chris Prokop Program manager, Corporate SOCOG
Steve Nichols Billing and development manager AAPT
Nadeen Jayasundara Commercial Strategy Leighton Holdings; Telstra
Kevin Morgan Systems architect, BSS/OSS AAPT, Optus, IBM, Telstra

Topics: NBN, Broadband, CXO, Networking, Telcos, Travel Tech, Optus, Telstra, IT Employment

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • Huh??

    "Interesting trends" ....not sure that most NBN Co staff have a telco background is surprising....... or for that matter news worthy.
  • Its costing us Taxpayers $43 Billion!!!

    Who gives a $%^*..but it is costing us Taxpayers $34 Billion dollars for a cushy Public Service job.

    What you should be asking is will they be viable and where is the Business Case Abbott keeps asking Krudd/Conjob for??
  • Knobs

    This venture will fail
    The executives will get a pile of our money
  • A fair go and free enterprise for all.

    Everybody would agree that fast fibre to the home is an idea that should certainly be considered BUT only after serious analysis of the cost of such a project and full and open calculations on the return on the investment for the Australian people.

    Mr. Rudd promoted a political winner when he, before the last election, suggested the possibility of a FTTH for all Australians. It worked and he won the election, BUT it is now time for the Prime Minister and Senator Conroy to come clean and reveal the cost of the NBN and its return on investment to the Australian taxpayers.

    It is now apparent that for the FTTH NBN to be a success, financially and technically, the Government must ban all competition to it. It must also, by blackmail and threat, force Telstra to transfer their customers to the monopoly Network. BUT how can the ACCC whose existence is to promote competition, allow this outrageous violation of free enterprise and the creation of a Government monopoly?

    Naturally those legions of employees, listed above, of the NBN Co will accept their large pay packets and the Government may refuse to reveal the cost and return on investment of their NBN but the long-suffering Australian taxpayer deserves better and indeed should demand it. Unless Telstra is offered a deal that is to the advantage of Telstra stakeholders, Telstra must upgrade its NBN system and compete with this proposed Government monopoly.
  • Talented execs?

    Peter Ferris: technosnob
    Steve Christian: looks good in a suit.
  • Skeleton in the cupboard.

    I do not wish to cast doubt or aspersions on the NBN Co employees but coming from Queensland I do know that the history of Mike Kaiser would be found wanting if scrutinised.
  • Pay peanuts get monkeys, LOL.

    To be fair to Mike it is hard to get good people for $450,000 a year.
  • Catcha!

    hey everyone,

    it's my last day at ZDNet.com.au today, I am heading off to start my own business and handing over the news editor reins to Suzanne Tindal :)

    It's been a great 18 months here adjudicating your debates and I look forward to reading many more of your comments online.

    Catcha later!

    Everyone behave for Suzanne!


    Renai LeMay
    Former News Editor
  • 10 steps for free enterprise, Telstra style...

    Money, money, money. Do you ever think of anything else Sydney?

    Return on investment, you said it 3 times, lol...Also monopoly about 3 times. Sorry, every time I started reading and counting I couldn't help but laugh at your childlike understanding, disgraceful double standards and your obvious selfish, always sugary Telstra rhetoric/ agenda.

    Perhaps the governments should also review hospitals, schools, roads too and any not making money, closed. Gee there wouldn't be much left, if it always came down to those precious dollars.

    Australia needs infrastructure, like roads, schools, hospitals and comms and I'm sure most Aussies would prefer to have them when they need them, knowing there is little return, than not have them. That's why we pay our taxes (not just to have built a freebie PSTN for Telstra, Sydney).

    So how does this sound for "10 steps to a fair go and free enterprise"...hypothetically (my apologies to Internode, for my pseudo innuendo in advance)?

    1. The government builds a taxpayer funded, "monopoly" NBN and then gives it to Internode.

    2.With ACCC overseen access, to internode's new taxpayer built and paid for NBN, "paid to Internode by competitors".

    3.Internode/Government then make $b's in "return on investments".

    4. 5 years later Internode is then partially floated with the money for the sale going to the government. Government still the major shareholder.

    5. 2 years later more of Internode is floated. With the Government still holding majority ownership.

    6. It then stays like that for 7 years. The government (and Internode - who did nothing to deserve it) are making nice profits, dividends etc.

    7. Then the Government relinquishes control by floating more of Internode.

    8. All the time Internode, are fighting tooth and nail to have the agreed access laws removed and/or the access price to the network they didn't build, didn't pay for and really shouldn't own, increased because they aren't quite happy with record $4b+ per year profits.

    9. All of the above = return on investment for the government and there's no monopoly (according to Internode stakeholders) because there's about 700 ISP's all clamouring for access (even though Internode, will do whatever they can to stop/slow them or have their "rent" increased).

    10. 4 or 5, greedy, selfish, disgraceful Internode shareholders, swear blind that what has occurred relating to Internode is absolutely fair, demand rental increases from competitors, whilst calling them leeches, say these competitors should invest (when they already are and Internode didn't) whinge and whine because Internode brought in US, toe-cutter management, who instead of consolidating/improving, turned the whole country against Internode and decimated the share price. They then point towards Internode's mobile network as the beacon in competitive enterprise, even though this network was built with the ill-gotten profits, from the gifted NBN.

    That would all be fair wouldn't it, Syd? No...Just go back and read again, but change NBN to PSTN and Internode to Telstra.

    Then it will be fair in your eyes... Well one eye anyway and unfortunately for you, that one is blind, eh Sydney?
  • Best wishes...

    All the best for the future Renai.
  • Goodbye and good luck.

    Every best wish Renai and a million thanks for you long suffering and gentle handling to some of our Posts. Look forward to the same understanding and pleasant guidance from Suzanne.
  • Telstra Shareholders OWNS the PSTN!!

    You really are a F@##$wit RS buoy!

    You Monopoly alarmists always forget little item facts like that Telstra were NOT given the network but repaid in FULL to the TAXPAYER!!

    Something Telstra shereholders & THODEY should NOT forget!
  • Cheers

    Cheers guys, I will miss you!

  • OMG. Yes Telstra now owns it... but

    Listen Telstra puppet (is that you Reality Check, lol?) take your greedy hand from your greedy portfolio. Then you may finally comprehend the truth, lol...

    The PSTN was vested to Telstra in 1992. You grubby shareholders did not take control of Telstra until late 2006 (starting partially in 1997 and 1999).

    Where did I say Telstra didn't now own it?

    The fact that Telstra was sold, does not change the fact Telstra was given the PSTN, previous.

    For all you greedy fools who cannot understand -

    High Court March 6 2008 - ...the PSTN which Telstra now owns (and of which the local loops form part) WAS ORIGINALLY A PUBLIC ASSET OWNED AND OPERATED AS A MONOPOLY SINCE FEDERATION BY THE COMMONWEALTH...

    ...the successive steps of corporatisation and privatisation that have led to Telstra now owning the PSTN (and the local loops that are now in issue) were steps which were accompanied by measures WHICH GAVE COMPETITORS OF TELSTRA ACCESS TO THE USE OF THE ASSETS OF THAT NETWORK

    In particular... THE STEP OF VESTING ASSETS OF THE PSTN IN TELSTRA, IN 1992, was preceded by the enactment of the 1991 Telecommunications Act. {END)


    So you aren't arguing with me F@#$wit... you are arguing with the High Court. So please continue, lol...
  • Maybe not so impressive.

    The easiest case against this network is duplication.

    There simply isnt the market for two large monolithic networks in this country. I wouldnt be too far fetch to suggest that when this new board takes over and Conroy being the man to make the imposssible possible, we can simply rebadge Telstra as NBNCo, I doubt that many would be able to tell the difference.

    So I do agree, that it is a roundabout way of re-nationalising the nations telco ie. Telstra; afterall, the key and defining properties being its network and its customers will pretty much be cutover to NBNCo.

    If anything, this is undeniable proof that privatisationg version1 has failed, now there is version2. I feel that there will always be a way for a private entity which monopolistic power to warp the market, NBNCo is no different. I'm glad Im not a shareholder, as the government has caused shareprice to fall beyond expectation.
  • Oh please not Suzanne

    Good luck, enjoyed reading your articles but I will not be coming back to read Suzanne's and will not return as often in general. You were one of the last fair and balanced contributors to this lackluster and politically hijacked web site.

    Good luck and congratulations.
  • Au revoir Renai

    Good luck Renai. Might do you good to get a rest from some of our "not so nice" posts and comments. I hope you enjoy a bright and prosperous future. I also hope that Suzanne is capable of battling the waves, and keeping "you know who" in his place.
  • Kaiser grime rides again...

    Good to see the sense of humour in partnering Kaiser with Grime once again!
  • 10 steps for free enterprise, Telstra style...

    The money grubbing politicians sold to investors what they as part of the public already owned. Then they get up in Parliament and tell us what brilliant Prime Ministers and Treasurers they are.
    Cunning bastards.
  • re "Telstra was given the PSTN, previous." - did Telstra/Telecom/PMG not pay annual dividends/royalties back to the government/australian tax payers for all those years it was a government monopoly? Isn't that pay back on the assets (eg PSTN) it has acquired? "Given" the PSTN? - yes, for free/without ever having paid back for the asset - no.