- Switkowski will be stepping down from the NBN board at the end of the year. Former Telstra and Chorus executive Kate McKenzie will take his place.
- According to NBN Co shareholder ministers Paul Fletcher and Simon Birmingham: “McKenzie brings a strong understanding of government and regulatory environments following more than 30 years of experience in government and senior executive leadership.
- Meanwhile, McKenzie said that “Ziggy’s shoes are huge ones to fill as he is effectively the elder statesman of Australian telecoms but we are working towards a smooth transitio
After eight years, Dr. Ziggy Switkowski, chair of NBN Co, is to step down from the board at the end of the year. To take the chair role from January, former Telstra and Chorus executive Kate McKenzie will step up.
According to NBN Co shareholder ministers Paul Fletcher and Simon Birmingham: “McKenzie brings a strong understanding of government and regulatory environments following more than 30 years of experience in government and senior executive leadership. Ms. McKenzie’s extensive communications sector experience, including as former CEO of national telecommunications firm Chorus New Zealand, includes the strong experience of oversight of a large operational telecommunications firm. This will be of particular value as NBN Co transitions to its operational phase.”
Meanwhile, McKenzie said that “Ziggy’s shoes are huge ones to fill as he is effectively the elder statesman of Australian telecoms but we are working towards a smooth transition.”
Before Chorus, McKenzie was responsible for various senior roles at Telstra. At one point, we were the chief operating officer, head of wholesale, and head of regulatory.
“I was fortunate to be able to see the industry from a range of perspectives. Working at the head of wholesale for Telstra meant I had quite a bit to do with executives at other Australian telcos so that will be very helpful with understanding their perspectives,” she said.
“And at Chorus, I very much learned the need to plan for your customer needs when making decisions and helping all the boats, as it were, to rise to the top.”
According to McKenzie, her rise to the role is in parallel with NBN Co undertaking an “evolution” from the “predominantly engineering mindset”. An immediate priority when the new year sets in will be the submission of a long-awaited variation of its Special Access Undertaking to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. McKenzie described this as key to “regulatory certainty” for the telco.
On the other hand, Switkowski said that “The commentary about NBN Co will now shift from "how far we’ve come" to "what’s possible in the future". I’ve loved my time at NBN Co and in the Australian telecom industry and am very proud of the institution which it has become.
In turn, the government thanked Switkowski for “his years of outstanding service as chair of the board.”
“In his capacity as chair, Dr. Switkowski oversaw the completion of the initial build of the network and the beginning of NBN Co’s transition to a mature operating company. Dr. Switkowski also oversaw NBN Co’s approach to private debt markets and the substantial reduction in the Commonwealth loan,” the government said in a statement.