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BT Picks Tech Boss to Become CEO of UK Telecoms Division Openreach

Monday, January 11th, 2016 (10:18 am) - Score 911

The Chief Executive of BT’s Technology, Service and Operations, Clive Selley (54), has today been confirmed as the replacement for outgoing Joe Garner in the role of CEO at the operator’s Openreach division, which is responsible for the national UK broadband and phone network.

Readers might recall that Joe Garner, who had only been in the role for around a year, suddenly announced his intention to step down last November 2015 (here). Garner said he was leaving in order to pursue the same position of responsibility at the Nationwide Building Society.

However the change came at a pivotal point for the telecoms infrastructure giant, which is currently facing the possibility of a split from the wider BT group (Ofcom’s on-going Strategic Review). Never the less Garner is officially expected to take up his new post at some point during Spring 2016 and that left BT to hunt for a replacement.

Thankfully BT appears to have found their man in the shape of Clive Selley, who just so happens to be the operator’s current Group Chief Information Officer (CIO) as well as CEO of BT’s Technology, Service and Operations division. This should make him a good fit for the role.

Clive Selley said:

I am honoured to have been asked to lead Openreach at this important point in its history. The huge investment it has made over the past decade has made the UK a broadband leader, and we need to build on those foundations by deploying fibre to further communities and by rolling out ultrafast broadband. Customer service is a top priority of mine and I am committed to delivering further improvements by working closely with all industry partners who rely on our network to serve their customers.

Openreach is at the heart of the UK economy with our open access network underpinning a ferociously competitive broadband market. That has benefited consumers and businesses greatly. The engineers are the lifeblood of Openreach and I have been hugely impressed by their tireless work in challenging circumstances during the current floods. They will play a crucial role in the coming decade as they have done to date.”

Gavin Patterson, BT Group CEO, said:

Clive is a hugely talented individual and I am delighted he has agreed to lead Openreach. He has an unrivalled knowledge of networks and engineering and is ideally suited to take the UK from a superfast nation to an ultrafast one. He supports our vision for the UK’s digital future and will play a key role in ensuring that businesses, consumers and communities receive the services they need and deserve.”

It’s noted that Clive’s appointment coincides with the 10th anniversary of Openreach, which was established following Ofcom’s last strategic review in 2005. As such BT’s press release makes a point of praising the impact that “highly regulated” Openreach has had on the market and also touts its plans for deploying 300-500Mbps G.fast broadband technology to “majority of the UK” by 2025.

However none of that escapes the fact that Ofcom are currently in the driving seat of deciding Openreach’s fate and whether or not BT even retains control of its infrastructure. A decision on that is expected by around the end of February 2016, which is sure to give Clive Seller a few headaches. Whatever the outcome, further change is definitely coming.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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10 Responses
  1. GNewton says:

    Merely changing the CEO doesn’t solve the serious issues which have been plaguing Openreach for years. Openreach needs to learn to act as a business, and to do proper telecom services and engineering jobs. It is to be hoped that Ofcom will sort out the Openreach mess soon and not allow it to drag down BT.

    1. TheFacts says:

      What do you mean by proper telecom services?

    2. GNewton says:

      @TheFacts:

      To give a recent example from a customer: He ordered 2 lines which should have been a straight forward task. The first line was supposed to be a new VDSL line (AAISP) to an office, instead Openreach re-used an old line leading to the wrong room. The 2nd line (Sky) lead to a new master socket which was dangling loosely on the wall, on bare wires, instead of properly fixing it to the wall. Also, engineer was really struggling to attach the copper wire to the outside wall of the premise (a normal brick wall). None of the tasks were done to proper specifications, customer ended up fixing things himself to make it work.

      These are not isolated examples, you can check any review site (ISPReview, Trustpilot, BT Business Forum, etc) to quickly see how many of the issues are cause by Openreach.

      Add to this the fact that Openreach by and large only provides yesterday’s technology, e.g. virtually no fibre broadband, not even FTTP-on-demand. Or how BT, including Openreach it owns, acts like a beggar for public money (see BDUK farce), instead of like a business. And it’s lazy “Can’t Do” culture in general.

    3. TheFacts says:

      100G Ethernet available to 90% of businesses.

    4. FibreFred says:

      Lol, Openreach having been providing fibre to the business premise for years across the country.

      Factual correctness on the increase in 2016 is it?

    5. GNewton says:

      @TheFacts: “100G Ethernet available to 90% of businesses.”

      Care to provide us with a link with more details? Last time we checked Openreach FTTP was barely available at all (we are talking about broadband lines, not leased lines, in case you don’t the difference!).

      Having said that, your proposal of a nationwide government FTTP, which you posted about a year ago, is still worth a consideration.

    6. FibreFred says:

      As usual we’ve been here before gnewton such are the circular nature of your comments so as to close the loop until next week or next month you have Mrs Thatcher to blame for a lack of fibre “broadband ” coverage but business have been able to purchase fttp connectivity through bt for years

  2. GNewton says:

    @TheFacts: Also, how do you propose to deal with all other commonly known Openreach issues? What should Ofcom do about them?

  3. fastman says:

    Gnewton uour going to be a beneficiary from BDUK SEP project in your county aren’t you –

    1. GNewton says:

      Nope, we only use purely commercial telecom services, despite the fact that some of our taxpayer’s money will end up with this beggar known as BT.

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