BT taps HSBC exec Joe Garner as CEO of Openreach

BT (NYSE: BT) has dipped into the financial services industry by naming financial industry veteran executive Joe Garner as the new CEO of Openreach.

When he comes on board in mid-February, he will replace Liv Garfield, who is leaving the service provider to take the CEO position at Severn Trent.

Garner comes to Openreach from HSBC, where as the head of UK Bank, he led the company through the recent financial crisis and helped the company achieve the UK's top customer satisfaction levels. He also has a wealth of regulatory knowledge through his role as chairman of the Financial Services Authority's Practitioner Panel.

BT said that his understanding of regulations and customer service at HSBC, Dixons and Procter & Gamble will come in handy in his new role. Openreach, which is tasked with overseeing the UK's local access network for BT and other competitive carriers, is also a highly regulated business.

"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," said Gavin Patterson, BT Group CEO, in a press release. "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." 

One of the key initiatives that Garner will drive at Openreach is the ongoing expansion of its fiber-based broadband network.

The company reported that in its Q2 2013 earnings report that it passed over 17 million premises in the UK and that more than 2 million homes and businesses use its fiber-based services. During this period, fiber connections rose 70 percent to 316,000 net connections.

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
BT Openreach CEO Garfield to leave company
BT conducts trial with Huawei on existing copper lines
BT adds 197,000 retail fiber broadband customers in fiscal Q1
BT to deliver 300 Mbps FTTP service

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