Who exactly works for NBN Co?

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.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

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 "="" class="c-regularLink" rel="noopener nofollow">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
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