NextDC founder Slattery steps down

The Pipe Networks founder is leaving NextDC, another company he founded, to concentrate on his other business ventures.

IT industry veteran Bevan Slattery is leaving the company he founded, NextDC, after having spread himself too thin with his other businesses. Slattery currently operates as a non-executive director and deputy chairman of the company.

In 2010, Slattery left Pipe Networks , a company he founded, less than a year after it was snapped up by TPG . He subsequently formed NextDC with several other Pipe Network directors. The datacentre provider was listed on the Australia Securities Exchange (ASX) at the end of 2010.

"It has been a terrific journey, and I am excited about NextDC's future," Slattery said in a statement to the ASX. "However, my other interest in various other businesses including SubPartners, Megaport, and Asia Pacific Data Centre Group take up an increasing part of my time."

In March 2013, Telstra signed a memorandum of understanding with SubPartners for capacity on its is new Perth-to-Singapore subsea cable.

Slattery has been known to be a vocal commentator within the IT community. He was particularly critical of the National Broadband Network (NBN), predicting that Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy would be unable to keep his promises about the high-speed network , and that it would end up being a liability to Australian taxpayers.

"I firmly believe you can't get a commercial return on this infrastructure," Slattery said in April 2010. "Don't play cute, don't spin, don't bullshit."

Later that year, he labelled the NBN as a wireless play, and questioned whether fixed wireless would see an acceptable rate of uptake.

"Customers have already voted with their feet; they want mobile broadband," he said. "If they already have a 3G service with Telstra, are they going to prefer to keep their service?"

"4G is capable of delivering the best bang for buck, the best internet experience to consumers,"

In 2011, he labelled the NBN "toxic" and said the only winner that would emerge post-NBN rollout would be Telstra. He predicted the telco to be the only potential buyer of the NBN if it became an economic failure. He even urged people to buy shares in Telstra .

"I think, ultimately, it will [fail], that's not me being anti-NBN, as a pure businessman, I look at this and think it is a bad investment and it will fail.

"If that's the case, then Telstra is the only buyer. They've got their spectrum, they've got their money and get to buy [NBN] back at 20 cents in the dollar."

Slattery is slated to leave after NextDC's annual general meeting later this year.

As part of a board restructuring, NextDC chairman Roger Clarke announced that he will be stepping down and letting non-executive director Ted Pretty take his place. Clarke took NextDC through its early stages of development, and oversaw its listing on the ASX.

"The board acknowledges the enormous contribution of Mr Slattery as founder and inaugural CEO. He is without doubt the most talented entrepreneur in the ICT sector in Australia. We respect his decision to focus on his other interests as NextDC's business moves into its next phase," Clarke said.