Jim Hassell quits NBN Co


blog One of the most visible NBN Co executives over the past several years has been the company’s Head of Product Development and Industry Relations, Jim Hassell. Hassell formerly led Sun Microsystems in Australia and took a leading role at NBN Co helping to define the company’s wholesale products, working closely with retail ISPs and the industry in general to do so. After NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley and perhaps Head of Corporate Kevin Brown, Hassell has been the company’s public ‘face’. And now, just two and a half years after he joined the company, he’s leaving.

To be honest, I can’t help but see this move as quite disappointing on Hassell’s part. Quitting NBN Co just as its hitting its ramp-up phase and it’s about to start delivering? Not such a great move, in my opinion. Hassell will be missing out on all the fun stuff. The media release this morning:

“Former SingTel Optus and Telstra executive John Simon will join NBN Co in the New Year as the company’s new Head of Product and Sales.

The appointment follows the announcement this morning that Jim Hassell has resigned from NBN Co to take up the role of Group Chief Executive Officer of the transmission network business Broadcast Australia, where he served previously as Chief Operating Officer.

Mr Simon joins NBN Co following more than a decade at SingTel Optus in a number of senior roles, most recently as Managing Director, Strategy, Corporate Development and Transformation. He served at Telstra in the 1990s in its multimedia business.

NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley said: “I’m pleased to welcome John Simon to the executive team. He brings to the company a wealth of experience in telecommunications and technology strategy that will help consolidate relationships and continue to develop products that meet the requirements of our industry customers and consumers.

“At the same time, I congratulate Jim on his new role and thank him for his outstanding contribution to NBN Co. He leaves the company in an excellent position to build on his achievements in developing the Wholesale Broadband Agreement and the associated negotiations with industry, which culminated in the signing up to the NBN telephone and internet service providers that represent over 95 per cent of the retail market.”

There’s also been a minor promotion in the company’s regulatory affairs division:

“Mr. Quigley also announced that Caroline Lovell, formerly Principal of Regulatory Affairs, has been promoted to the new role of Head of Regulatory Affairs and Industry Analysis, reporting to the CEO.

“Caroline has demonstrated outstanding leadership in her development of the long-term regulatory framework governing access to the National Broadband Network. The document, known as the Special Access Undertaking, is currently going through the ACCC’s industry consultation process as part of its consideration of the undertaking. I am pleased to add her talent and expertise to the executive team.” Ms Lovell will assume her new position in the New Year. Mr Hassell will depart in mid- February 2013 following a handover period.

Image credit: NBN Co


  1. Cue comments on the vain of “he’s bailing from a sinking ship…”

    Probably just got a better offer, which is telling considering Fletcher’s recent comments on how NBNCo overpays its staff.

    • Yeah, Broadcast Australia handles all the ABC’s transmission stuff, so it’s not a backwards step for him.

      Anyone know anything about John Simons? He seems to have a lot of relevant experience, so it could be a good thing.

  2. Damn, that’s a shame, wonder why he’s leaving? He’s been really capable in everything I’ve read that has his name on it.

    Bit of a loss to NBNCo. Wish you well Jim!

    • Sorry, perhaps should have been clearer … the reason that he’s leaving is there (a new position) … but what was the actual reason … money? Higher executive level? Familiar territory?

      One of those things that’ll go unanswered I guess, unless he decides to publish a tell all biography.

    • I really cannot fathom why he would leave at this point. NBN Co seems like a great place to work, I can’t see him needing the money, and the ramp-up is happening right now. It’s a terrible time to jump off the ship.

      • Maybe he sees more of a challenge in the BA role than there would be in the NBNCo at this point? I think there was some talk about changes with the ABC contracts a while back (though I can’t recall the details).

        is there a problem with the forums Renai?

        I’ve posted a couple of things that haven’t shown up, and it tells me the last activity was 5 days ago?!

      • Don’t discount the possible impact of personal connections and interests: “where he served previously as Chief Operating Officer”.

        That’s a very different story from if he’d jumped ship to a company where he had no previous history.

      • There is something realigning somewhere. With JH’s departure and a Incumbant Telco Exec moving into the Vaccum. Just what is going on out the back of the NBN building?
        Sure enough, the Public will be the last to know.

  3. He may be considering the uncertainty of the NBN being “paused” “stopped”

    • But that is far from certain and is still nearly a year off.

      He previously served as COO for Broadcast Australia, so it’s familiar territory for him. Maybe it’s as simple as fewer hours & shorter commute, so he can spend more time with his family? Anyone know if he has young kids? Everyone thought I was mad to scale down my business when I did, but I have young kids & a disabled wife – sometimes the best life choices have nothing to do with the best career move.

  4. Maybe being in such a high profile role at NBN Co became too much of a Hassell…


  5. Didn’t actually work directly with John Simon, but from what I’ve seen and heard, a capable leader with an eye on the future. Was able to deliver significant product changes at Optus, but was eventually stymied by the dogs bollocks of an IT organisation.

  6. iirc, Jim Hassall used to be on the board of the ABC. That was back when he was Sales MD for Sun Microsystems Australia/New Zealand.

    Maybe they just wanted to get him back? :)

  7. Look, it’s easy to read more into this than it needs.

    Some people think that a job with NBN Co is akin to a holy calling. It’s not – it’s just a job, even when it’s a senior, very well paid one.

    Top talent at this level is highly sought after, and people take career changes based on many reasons (not just more money) – some like a new challenge every few years, others have family needs to consider, and so forth.

  8. Firstly I will state my pride in the actual achievement of OUR Australian NBN, a very competant and professional team that are obviously enthusiastic about their task.

    My thanks and congratulations to Jim, all the best for your future.

    He is the first of many of the cream of the NBN to consider their options, after all after the election the PM, Treasurer and so many Key Libs/Nats have indicated the NBN will be effectively gutted, the cut down privatised pale imitation will be given to Telstra on terms that will be a boon for the Telstra shareholders and a disaster for competition and the Nations communications and economy.

    The achievements of the team are being watched and I would suggest the headhunters (not only Australian) are fishing and circling. Only a fool would blindly wait for the pink slip under rancorous circumstances or just do a mundane job with no real goal or self respect, better take an excellent offer away from media and political abuse. By their achievements they are not fools

  9. Well, rightly, the NBN is turning more and more into a civil engineering project. Much of the heavy lifting around the Telco/Networking aspect has been done.

    It may well be that the aspects that are of most interest to a non-civil engineering type are starting to taper off or are at least starting to mature. Sure plenty more to go, but the biggest lumps are pretty much done on that front.

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