The Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) has hand-picked NBN Co's new chairman, Commonwealth Bank of Australia director Harrison Young, who has also been top dog at Morgan Stanley's Asian arm.
Young, who will step into a minefield of negotiations with his Telstra equivalent Catherine Livingstone, will commence immediately. He currently holds a spot on the board of Commonwealth Bank and serves on the court of directors for the Bank of England.
From 1997 to 2003, Young was managing director and vice chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia. He also retired as chairman of Morgan Stanley Australia in 2007 after holding that position for four years.
Before that, Young was chief executive of China International Capital Corporation in Beijing for two years. He is deputy chairman of the University of Melbourne's Asialink centre, and of the Asia Society AustralAsia Centre, as well as sitting on the board of Florey Neuroscience Institutes including being chairman of the institute's foundation. In addition, he is a director of the New York-based Financial Services Volunteer Corps.
NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley can now step down from his role as executive chairman. Quigley will retain a spot on the board as a director.
"I am very pleased to welcome the appointment of Mr Young as NBN Co chairperson and am confident he will make a great contribution," Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said in a statement.
"Mr Young is an experienced executive and director, and brings substantial leadership and financial experience to the NBN Co board," said Conroy.
"The appointment of Mr Young further extends the already strong set of skills possessed by the NBN Co board," said Conroy. "NBN Co is delighted that Mr Young has agreed to commence his role immediately."
Conroy's statement noted Young had previously made donations to both sides of politics. "One such donation of $5000 was made to the minister for Finance and Deregulation prior to the 2007 election, and therefore the minister has taken no part in the decision to appoint Mr Young," the statement said.
DBCDE's secretary Peter Harris selected Young, according to Conroy's office. However, Cabinet was still required to approve the appointment. The search for the chair was also conducted by recruitment firm Egon Zehnder and leadership consultancy EWK.