NBN Co appoints John McInerney as CIO


news The National Broadband Network Company has appointed former Telstra and HP executive John McInterney to be its new chief information officer starting on 3 December this year, following the departure of inaugural-NBN Co CIO Claire Rawlins in August.

A spokesperson for the company said: “We are delighted to welcome an executive of John’s calibre and experience to this important role within the company. Our IT and systems are core to the NBN and to the operation and delivery of a wholesale network designed to serve the people of Australia for decades to come.” It appears the news was first broken today by the Financial Review newspaper.

McInerney (see his LinkedIn profile here) has long been one of the most high-profile IT executives working in Australia’s telecommunications industry. He spent six years in top-level IT roles at the nation’s largest telco Telstra from 2004 through to 2010, culminating in two years spent as the telco’s chief information officer. In August 2011 he took up a role as vice president of HP’s Infrastructure Technology Outsourcing division for the Asia-Pacific and Japan region. Before his Telstra roles, McInerney had a prior career that included several years as the CEO of the Datum group – a company he spent nine years in total at.

The executive will replace NBN Co’s inaugural CIO Claire Rawlins, who resigned and left NBN Co in August this year, after spending several years at the company setting up its IT support operation.

NBN Co is an unusual company in the sense that it was founded as a startup, from scratch in mid-2009. Because of this, it had no legacy IT infrastructure to deal with as it ramped up its operations. However, it was also highly capitalised and had a very rapid growth plan This led to the ability to make ambitious decisions with respect to building out its IT infrastructure, as some of the company’s IT executives describe in this extensive article on the subject published by Delimiter in March 2012.

Image credit: Telstra


  1. Interesting. Could be seen as a positive by those supportive of NBNCo in it’s current form and those who wish to see the introduction of the Liberal Party alternative.
    No doubt Mr McInterney will bring a great deal of knowledge and skills to the position in order to progress NBNCo’s intentions as they currently stand. By the same token he will also possess a great deal of knowledge of Telstra’s systems and processes which could facilitate the introduction of a Liberal party generated alternative.

    A $ each way by NBNCo?

    • Would appear to be.

      He appears to have the qualifications Mr Turnbull believes is so lacking from NBNCo. He also has the experience to deal with multiple types of situations, both in IT and business.

      Can only see this in a positive light from either side.

      • YOU can only see it as a positive. The coalition will spin it in such a manner to make it appear desperate. “NBN has to recruit highly paid/overpriced CIO to prop up skills shortage” or some such.
        Not saying his hiring is a bad thing, but it isn’t a silver bullet. Nothing but an actual bullet made of silver in a politician is a silver bullet in politics.

        • I think you’ll find that’s a grossly overpriced piece of lead in political lingo – another example of typical Labor waste.

  2. Having left Telstra after spending a massive amount of money on their Telstra IT Transformation, which ultimately failed, we can expect him to continue the NBNCo’s stunning record of spending money for little delivery….

    • @Chris

      To be fair, you could pay the best IT guys in the world to “transform” Telstra’s IT….and they’d fail.

      The attitude of old school and redundant technology are RIFE in Telstra. It’s going to be many MANY years before that changes. I’m not surprised one man couldn’t do it.

      • Hi seven_tech,

        thanks, but given the spend he oversaw, I’m afraid that’s not much of an argument – why spend that much on 3rd party vendors and products if you can’t exact the change internally to deliver an ROI. Telecom Italia managed to turn over their entire B/OSS in 5years and turned off all their legacy IT systems, so it can be done.

        I can just see the same spend continuing at NBNCo only this time we get to pay directly through our taxes rather than indirectly through service charges….
        Unfortunately it is another proof point that Government oversight fails when it comes to managing such an initiative.

        • Chris

          I’m sure it can be done, but perhaps, because of the attitude in Telstra, unlike that of Italia Telecom, it simply failed. You can have the best equipment and management in the world, but if your middle management is entrenched, unproductive and lethargic, it all counts for nothing.

          Second, just to clarify:

          1- NBNCo. isn’t spending tax dollars. They get their startup and construction equity from the government who raise that money through current savings and then bonds. Neither are taxpayer funded. Once up and running, NBNCo. make money in almost precisely the same way as Telstra- via service charges. But unlike Telstra, they only charge wholesale, so us end customers are not the direct source, but rather the ultimate source, via RSPs.

          2- NBNCo. ,at be government funded at startup and government owned, but they are not government run. It is the board’s decision to hire replacement/ new staff. The government would have little if any say in it.

          • Hey,

            Clearly you are more knowledgable than me – but i would love to see where those “current savings” are derived if not from taxes (regardless of nature, personal, business etc).

            As for governance – who appoints the board to NBNCo? Are you suggesting the government isn’t responsible for running the entity it has created and funded?

          • What’s the big deal?
            Do you pay taxes?
            Do you pay taxes BECAUSE of the NBN?
            Would you NOT pay taxes in a world without the NBN?
            The taxes are going to go to something. The good thing about the NBN is it PAYS ITSELF BACK (in time). With profit. So you get world-class, future-proof infrastructure, and the “taxpayer” pays nothing.

          • NBN Co is a government business enterprise. You can consider the government simply the shareholders. Shareholders put the most competent people in charge, they don’t try to run the company themselves. They have objectives, performance, etc. to meet. The difference is that in this case the company’s end is not (generally) to turn a profit, the company’s operations itself is the company’s end.

          • Chris

            The current savings I’m referring to are an amalgamation of the Telstra Special sale fund (funds from the sale of a government GBE and therefore not from the taxpayer) and the communication fund (also from the sale of Telstra) which were amalgamated in the Building Australia Fund. Neither come from taxes and neither were legislated to be spent on budget.

            As Harimau says, it may be the governments job to appoint the board and set the targets, but they have no control over how the company REACHES those targets. The government can fold the company if they are unhappy with it and can prove an advantage for doing so. But they do not make any of the decisions in running the company.

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