Of all of our Women in Wireline honorees, Olivia Garfield, CEO of BT Openreach (NYSE: BT), is arguably the youngest executive we've profiled so far in FierceTelecom's Women in Wireline series.
At the age of 35, Garfield became BT Openreach's CEO this past April, replacing Steve Robertson, who has led Openreach since the UK incumbent service provider founded the division in 2005 under a government mandate.
Of course, Garfield, whose friends know her as "Liv," has a lot on her respective plate to work out as the new chief of BT Openreach.
One of the key initiatives she's tasked with is to leverage Robertson's foundation to advance the unit's initiative to bring Fiber to the X (FTTX) services to two-thirds of UK homes and businesses by the end of 2015, delivered by BT itself and other competitive providers like TalkTalk (LSE: TALK). To reach that goal, BT Openreach is leveraging a mix of both Fiber to the Cabinet (FTTC) and Fiber to the Home (FTTH) and network infrastructure to deliver up to 40 Mbps and 100 Mbps, respectively.
An eight-year veteran of BT, Garfield has had plenty of prep work for her new role. Most recently, she served as BT Group's Director of Strategy, Policy and Portfolio, where she oversaw the service provider's strategic direction, product and regulatory direction.
Throughout her career at BT, Garfield has proven herself at managing large sales and service organizations, including her tenure as BT's Managing Director of the Commercial and Brands unit. Previously, she was VP of the Global Services UK Customer Service organization, where she merged four disparate organizations, including 8,000 people, into one organization of 6,500 people.
Garfield said when she was appointed to the new role that "competition in UK telecommunications has led to low prices and innovative new services, and my aim is to ensure that continues."
During its most recent quarter, BT Openreach added 18,000 new copper-based DSL subscribers and overall revenue was up 5 percent due to growth in Ethernet, broadband and local loop unbundling (LLU) services.
Garfield's achievements as a young businesswoman have not gone unnoticed. Last year, she was named as one of Cranfield Business School's "100 Business Women to Watch" and one of Pepsi's 2008 "Business Women of the Future."