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BT Openreach UK Appoints Joe Garner as CEO to Replace Liv Garfield

Monday, January 13th, 2014 (3:23 pm) - Score 1,958

BT has today announced the appointment of Joe Garner (aged 44), the former head of HSBC’s UK bank, to be the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of its Openreach division when current boss, Liv Garfield, steps down to become CEO of water company Severn Trent.

Garner, whom has also held senior roles at both Dixons and Procter & Gamble, will begin to take over from Garfield during mid-February 2014. BT claims that his “substantial commercial, operational and regulatory experience” will come in handy as the operator looks towards reshaping its approach in order to tackle future challenges.

Gavin Patterson, BTGroup’s CEO, said:

I am delighted to welcome Joe to the team. His experience of managing a large regulated business with a substantial workforce will help us as we expand our fibre optic network into rural areas. He will also ensure that Openreach continues to play a vital role in supporting businesses, consumers and communities the length and breadth of the country.”

Joe Garner added:

I am thrilled to be joining Openreach at such a critical moment – a moment when technology is redefining how our society communicates. The massive investment that Openreach is making in the UK’s high speed internet infrastructure is something of a revolution that will greatly benefit people and businesses in this country. I am grateful to my predecessor and the engineers who have already delivered so much. It is my ambition to build on this work and I intend to focus on customer service, continued innovation and maintaining fair and equal access for all.”

The press release mentions regulation on several occasions and states that Openreach, which looks after BT’s national UK telecoms and broadband network, “is one of the most heavily regulated businesses in the UK“. This suggests that the operator is being particularly mindful of Ofcom’s on-going Fixed Telecoms Market Review(s) and the likely impact upon their business.

Similarly, as BT’s “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) network expands then the calls for greater access and price control by rival ISPs only seem to get louder. Suffice to say that Openreach will face a number of new challenges over the next few years and it clearly believes that Garner will be the best man to take it through the foggy weather.

Leave a Comment
16 Responses
  1. Avatar Disoneleg says:

    What is this websites obsession with “BT Openreach” ?!? It’s simply “Openreach”..

    What next? “Liberty Global Virgin Media” or “21st Century Fox Sky”

    1. Avatar DTMark says:

      There is no such company as either Openreach or BT Openreach.

      I stand to be corrected but the I think that the correct name is British Telecommunications Plc..?

    2. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      It’s just an easy way to reference that Openreach is a BT group company without having to always specifically state it, which can become tedious when you also need to separately reference BT’s other consumer and business divisions. A lot of ISPs also refer to them as BT Openreach or BTOR but it’s a matter of choice, we also use Openreach separately too. Meanwhile some newspapers just do as DTMark says and merely state “BT” irrespective of company context or situation.

    3. Avatar Ignitionnet says:

      You would have a far better case questioning the UK part to be honest 😉

  2. Avatar CrazyLazy says:

    Is this the same guy who was appointed head of HSBC but because he did not want to move over seas or deal with over seas divisions quit after only something like 2 years in the job?

    BT picked another winner there that will more than likely quit early like so many before him and take millions in bonuses.

    1. Avatar Bob2002 says:

      Olivia Garfield had a “flexible working” arrangement with BT so she could work around her family life – so the new guy probably isn’t any worse in that respect.

    2. Avatar CrazyLazy says:

      Didn’t she spend less than 2 years in the job also?

  3. Avatar dragoneast says:

    So they pick a finance man rather than an engineer? Not sure whether we should read anything into that though as to where the divisions priorities will lie. It’s all the same to the BT-bashers.

    1. Avatar CrazyLazy says:

      They seem to pick people more interested in their own pocket than the company judging by the last few in charge, how long they stuck around and what they managed to barter before walking.

  4. Avatar John says:

    Olivia Garfield is also a non-executive director at Tesco since February 2013

    1. Avatar John says:

      Olivia Garfield
      Non-executive Director

      Olivia Garfield (Liv) was appointed a Non-executive Director on 1 April 2013. She has worked for BT since 2002 and has been CEO of Openreach since 2011. Prior to that she carried out a range of senior strategic and operational roles, including Group Director Strategy, Portfolio and Regulation, Managing Director Commercial and Brands, Global Services and Vice President UK Customer Services, Global Services. From 1998 to 2002 Liv worked for Accenture as a consultant in the Communications and High Tech Market Unit, designing and implementing business change solutions across a number of industry sectors.

  5. Avatar CrazyLazy says:

    I guess that makes sense Tesco did do terrible sales this Christmas, down something like 2.5% from memory. Also explains the Hudl quite possibly the worst name ever for a tablet, though explains nicely what you will have to do around the screen which nobody wants 😉

  6. Avatar DTMark says:

    A few tips for Liv – if you’re moving home to take up your new role..

    Make sure it’s in a cabled area.

    If that fails, make sure you can get VDSL. Don’t bother checking with a postcode. Put the full address in.

    Accept that when bodgitt and scarper turn up (I believe they’re known in the trade as MJ Quinn) the result you got from the above might be meaningless anyway if you get connected to a different cabinet, if the hundred year old cables are crap, or said company punches staples through the wires in the house.

    If that all fails, just move home again.

    Hope this helps.

    1. Avatar John says:

      I think Liv should be take over Virgin Media Cable, so, both BT and Cable can sharing underground ducts to speedy up UK network.

    2. Avatar DTMark says:

      I suspect Liberty Global’s shareholders might have something to say about that.

    3. Avatar CrazyLazy says:

      Virgin do not need anyone to help them pretend their fibre product is already available to over 50% of the UK. It has been for years.

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