Founder and former CEO of telecommunications provider iiNet Michael Malone has been appointed by the Australian government to the board of the National Broadband Network (NBN) company.
The appointment, announced in a joint statement between Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and Communications Minister Mitch Fifield on Friday afternoon, will see Malone replace Internode founder Simon Hackett.
"The Australian government has appointed Michael Malone as a director to the Board of NBN Co Limited (NBN) for a term of three years," the ministers said.
"Further to his extensive experience in the retail service provider and telecommunications sector, Mr Malone is currently a director of a number of telecommunications and media companies. He has also been on advisory councils for the Australian and Western Australian governments, providing counsel on consumer protection and education."
The NBN board welcomed the announcement, saying Malone's telecommunications experience would serve him well in the role.
"Michael is a long-standing and respected member of the telecommunications industry. His experience will complement the diverse backgrounds and skill sets that exist on today's NBN board and help fill the gap created by the departure of Mr Hackett," said NBN chairman Ziggy Switkowski.
"I look forward to Michael bringing new perspectives to the board table, keeping NBN focused upon our customers, valuing innovation, and successfully completing the network build."
Hackett said he is departing the NBN board so as to focus on his energy battery company Redflow.
"I'm 110% committed to RedFlow Limited. That's the reason. Really that simple," Hackett said on Twitter.
"It is with a sense of regret that I must bid farewell to the NBN team and to my colleagues on the NBN board," Hackett added in a statement released by NBN.
"I will greatly miss the experience of being in the midst of something so very pivotal, in a space I care about so much. It has been a privilege to be a part of such an endeavour, and I would jump at the chance to return if future opportunity should arise."
Malone's board appointment commenced as of April 20.
Malone, along with Hackett, has long been a sceptic of the NBN, particularly in regards to the connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) charge, which they said would make it uneconomical for smaller ISPs to offer services on the NBN.
While Malone originally criticised the TPG takeover deal, due to the companies' differing philosophies on company culture and the resultant lack of competition in the industry, he stated in May that he would not seek to block it.
"To be blunt, I'm not sure yet about this new bid. To be fair to TPG, they have listened to shareholder comments and the new offer does address those concerns," Malone said on broadband enthusiast website Whirlpool.
"How do I feel? Well, of course I always wanted iiNet to be an independent voice. But I have said since 1999 that I will not (and now cannot) use our shareholding to block a fair bid."
Updated at 3.35pm AEST: Added comment from Switkowski
Updated at 3.45pm AEST: Added comment from Hackett