news Senior telecommunications executive Ralph Steffens has been appointed as NBN Co’s first chief operating officer, according to an announcement yesterday. He will start at the end of November and be based in Sydney, reporting to Chief Executive Officer Mike Quigley.
The “worldwide search” for a COO had commenced in August, with Quigley standing in until the permanent appointment was announced.
Steffens will be responsible for construction of the National Broadband Network and network operations, IT and deployment planning. Until recently, German-born Steffens held the position of managing director, Service Delivery, BT Group: The global telecommunications company with its headquarters in London.
At BT Group, Steffens directed two key network rollouts across Europe. He led a team of 4,000 people around the world, in charge of BT Group’s multinational corporate customers and its international infrastructure and network. While with BT Group, Steffens also oversaw the upgrade of Britain’s broadband infrastructure. Preceding this, at COLT Telecom he undertook delivery of a 15,000km ean-European telecommunications network extending across 12 countries.
NBN Co CEO Quigley welcomed Steffens’ appointment, saying, “As an experienced telecommunications executive who has presided over major network rollouts across Europe, Ralph is ideally suited to the role of overseeing this vital upgrade of Australia’s telecommunications infrastructure.”
Expressing his pride at joining a visionary project envied around the world, Steffens said: “Delivering high speed-broadband to every home and business across a continent the size of Australia represents an enormous challenge, but the opportunities it will enable are endless. I’m genuinely excited about the ability to participate in the building of the NBN.”
The announcement about the COO position comes on the heels of a number of moves announced in August to acknowledge NBN Co’s evolution from a start-up focused on design and planning to a business proficient at delivering the full-scale rollout of the NBN. The biggest change in the August restructuring was the retirement of the company’s chief financial officer Jean-Pascal Beaufret, followed by the departure of NBN Co’s head of industry engagement, Christy Boyce. Other new appointments included chief communications officer and Head of Quality.
Work on constructing the network traversing roughly 500,000 homes and businesses in towns and cities across Australia is scheduled to accelerate over the next 12 months.