NBN Co loses chief marketing officer

NBN Co's chief marketing officer Kieren Cooney has resigned from the company, executive chair Ziggy Switkowski announced to staff this morning.

NBN Co has lost chief marketing officer Kieren Cooney after just over two years in the job, NBN Co executive chair Ziggy Switkowski announced to staff today.

Cooney, who moved to Australia to join NBN Co in November 2011, leaving his role as chief marketing officer for Telecom New Zealand, will leave the company at the end of February, Switkowski announced in an internal memo seen by ZDNet.

Switkowski said that Cooney's resignation will come ahead of a review of marketing and communications in NBN Co before the arrival of the company's new CEO Bill Morrow at the end of March.

The executive chairman said Cooney had forged good relationships with all governments and both sides of politics, and had overseen a smooth transition to the new federal government. Switkowski said that NBN Co's head of product and sales, John Simon, will be acting chief marketing officer for the time being.

At his last appearance before the NBN Senate Select committee, Cooney was involved in an altercation with former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, where Cooney questioned whether the committee hearing could continue if there isn't a quorum of at least three members of the committee.

"You have just attempted to close down a parliamentary committee — so much for NBN Co wanting to participate and have scrutiny," Conroy blasted.

"The chief communications officer for NBN Co just tried to close down a parliamentary committee. That is what you just did. That is now on the record for everybody in Australia to know what you just tried."

Cooney said at the time that he was seeking clarification on the quorum.

Earlier this week, Parliamentary Secretary for Communications Paul Fletcher said the Coalition government is looking to take the politics out of the NBN, but Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare said that the Coalition's actions to reduce NBN Co's construction targets is nothing but a pure politics play to allow the company to have the bar set so low that it could easily be achieved.

"It is important to understand what is happening here. This is all about politics. NBN Co has failed to meet its construction targets in the past. Malcolm Turnbull is determined to make sure that this doesn't happen on his watch, so he is lowering the bar so low that it is impossible not to jump over it," he said.

"To prove this point, NBN Co could slow down to two thirds of their current speed and still hit the target that has been set for them. "

Clare said that the target "will make for a good press release in July, but doesn't speed up construction of the network".