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News, Telecommunications - Written by Renai LeMay on Thursday, October 3, 2013 10:34 - 25 Comments
Petition: Get Simon Hackett onto NBN Co’s board
Want to see Simon Hackett appointed to the board of the National Broadband Network Company? So do we. That’s why we encourage you to sign a new petition set up to encourage Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull to consider the Internode founder and all-round broadband guru as a candidate.
If you examine the list of candidates which have been publicly named as having been approached by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull to be directors sitting on NBN Co’s new board, you’ll see a certain mediocrity. Some, such as Ziggy Switkowski, have experience leading Australia’s largest telecommunications companies, Telstra and Optus. Others, such as Wal King and Patrick Flannigan, have experience leading Australia’s largest construction companies. And others, such as former Communications Minister Helen Coonan, are members of the Liberal Party.
However, what we haven’t seen yet from any potential candidates for the post of NBN Co board director is any variety. We haven’t seen any industry candidates from outside the major telcos. We haven’t seen any candidates who are outside the box thinkers. We haven’t seen any candidates who have deep technical knowledge in the ISP and telecommunications fields. And yet, it’s easy to argue that NBN Co’s board should feature this kind of diversity.
As your writer argued in an article published on Delimiter 2.0 last week (subscriber content), Internode founder Simon Hackett would make an ideal board director:
“In many respects, it’s hard to imagine why the Coalition hasn’t already canvassed Hackett to be a NBN Co director. The executive is one of the most respected executives in Australia’s telecommunications industry; a consummate technical and business professional who was instrumental in bringing broadband competition to an industry strangled by Telstra; an executive has a passion for, and interest in, virtually everything that NBN Co does and has been able to predict the outcomes of the company’s moves ahead of time, courageously voicing his opinion despite NBN Co and various politicians trying to shout him down.
As with journalists, the role of board directors is not to say comforting things to people in powerful positions. The role of directors is to bring all their skills to the board table and speak all the truth that they know, no matter how uncomfortable, for the benefit of the organisation they represent and its stakeholders. They are wise, disciplined, outspoken counsellors that aim to stop good organisations going off the rails.
It’d be hard to find a better description than this for Simon Hackett, who’s been a wise counsellor to Australia’s telco industry for several decades. And if the Coalition is going to stack NBN Co’s board with past Telstra executives, it’d be nice to see a little energy and variety added to the mix — for example, someone who has spent the past couple of decades wrestling Telstra to get better broadband outcomes for all Australians.”
Simon Hackett truly would be the thinking man’s board director; a natural fit to bring balance to a NBN Co board likely to be stifled by former Telstra executives, ageing construction chiefs and former Liberal politicians. I’ve been speaking to Simon Hackett for the best part of the past decade in my capacity as a journalist, and I’ve yet to find an executive in the industry with a higher level of integrity, a higher level of passion, or a higher level of expertise and willingness to engage. He’s also available for NBN Co board duties, having recently formally relinquished his executive role at Internode.
More than anyone else in Australia’s telecommunications industry, Simon Hackett groks broadband and the NBN, and should be on NBN Co’s board.
So overnight, we set up a new petition on Change.org. If you agree with us that Hackett would make the perfect candidate to sit on the NBN board, we encourage you to mosey over there append your name to the petition. We’ll forward it to the office of Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull periodically as the level of support reaches certain levels; and you can rest assured that we’ll be reminding Turnbull and his team of the petition’s existence on a regular basis.
Image credit: Office of Simon Hackett
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