Out the door... Mike Quigley is leaving his post as CEO of NBN Co. File Photo: Andrew Meares
NBN Co announced today Chief Executive Mike Quigley will retire from corporate life.
Mr Quigley joined the company charged with building Australia's $37.4 billion national broadband network at its inception from retirement four years ago.
An NBN Co spokesman said Mr Quigley's job was to "put the systems in place to get the company up and running and he's done that".
A global search by an executive recruitment agency will now begin for a replacement for Mr Quigley who his spokesman said would on for as long as it takes to find a replacement.
Asked whether he was prepared to stay another year, the spokesman said: "I'd say months".
"Mike will stay in harness until the board appoints a successor. It depends entirely on how long the search takes."
He indicated it shouldn't take long given the job is "without doubt one of the biggest telecommunications jobs arguably in the world... to replace an entire country's communications infrastructure".
Tony Brown, senior analyst with Informa Telecoms & Media, who works in the sector in Asia Pacific, said it would be difficult to find a global CEO willing to take on the job before the next Federal election.
"If Labour gets in it's one plan, if the Coalition gets in it's another plan. You'd want to know who your boss was," Mr Brown said.
Mr Brown said he was surprised Mr Quigley lasted as long as he did.
"Four years in that sort of job is a huge amount of time. The initial job he had when he took it on was very different," he said adding the brief was to build a network in a relatively stable political environment.
"Since the last election, he's been operating under huge pressure."
Mr Brown said one of the most difficult aspects of Mr Quigley's job was to not have any flexibility in the choice of technology. NBN Co was charged with rolling out fibre optic cables to all premises, regardless of whether they were multi-dwellings such as apartment blocks which some, like Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull, believe should be serviced by terminating fibre downstairs and using existing copper or pay TV cables to connect the homes. NBN Co has also not been able to take existing fibre networks - such as those owned by utilities, government agencies and others - into negotiation.
He indicated the brief for the network was too inflexible, and the political and media environments too difficult, for a global search to find too many candidates ready to take on the challenge.
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