Bill Morrow Is Stepping Down As NBN CEO

After four years and nine months of leading the NBN, CEO Bill Morrow will be stepping down at the end of 2018, Morrow told the NBN Board and the Federal Government today.

NBN said in an official statement that by the end of this year "80 per cent of the population will be able to connect to the national broadband network".

"The rollout is proceeding at pace, and the project will be finished in 2020, on time, on budget, and the national broadband network will be fit-for-purpose," the statement reads.

Morrow gave his reasoning for stepping down in the same statement.

"I believe that as the company prepares to confront the new challenges ahead, this is the right time to hand over the reins for the next phase of this incredible project and for me to plan for the next step in my career."

NBN Board Chairman Dr Ziggy Switkowski said the country has "been fortunate to have Bill lead this extraordinary project."

"While we will be sorry to see him leave, Bill has built a resilient, performance-driven organisation which will build on his legacy."

As for who will be taking over from Morrow - NBN says a "global search" will be undertaken for his successor.

Update 10:04am: Morrow sent a letter to NBN staff this morning - here it is in full:

Happy Wednesday

It is with a heavy heart that I write to tell you that I have decided to leave nbn to pursue the next chapter of my career. I have informed our Chairman that I will leave at the end of this calendar year. The next nine months will allow our Board of Directors to conduct an extensive search for my replacement while we remain focused on lifting the customer experience and reaching our three-quarter network completion milestone.

Two days ago was my four year anniversary here at nbn and over this entire time, I have repeatedly been inspired by and in awe of you. As many of you know, I’ve had the pleasure of leading many companies all over the world but it is here, in Australia, at nbn, where I’ve witnessed a team of like-minded individuals pull together and overcome obstacles in the face of adversity like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

As I sat down to write this note, part of my intent was to remind you of what you’ve done over the past four years so you know how proud and grateful I am of you and our partners. I listed out the many achievements that included 14 consecutive quarters of exceeding targets, advancing the network access from 500,000 to 6.5 million homes, and growing annualised revenue from $60 million to $2 billion. These are fabulous measures of your success, but what raises the goose bumps is knowing who you are, how you work together, and what you stand for.

There are many reasons why I feel this way but a few proof points include our engagement score lifting from the low 40s to the 70s putting us in the top quartile of companies down under; our voluntary turnover rate of employees improving and remaining the best in our industry; and the confirmation from third party surveys which show how our culture is underpinned by a set of deeply embedded and shared values. These values, as you know, are: We are One Team, We are Fearless, We Deliver, and most of all… We Care.

This last value is everything. When we care, we deliver the experience our customers need, we build our network to every home as soon as possible, and we are frugal with other people’s money. When we care, we drive for and leverage the power of diversity, we show respect for one another and we are committed to one another’s success. When we care, we make a difference in the lives of our fellow Australians and this couldn’t be more important to a country where the name of the national anthem is “Advance Australia Fair”.

This brings me to the most important reason why I’m so impressed with what you stand for and what you are doing. I know the reason you work so hard isn’t so much about building a network, it’s about closing the digital divide and narrowing the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. It’s about all Australians having greater access to education, health care, career opportunities, entertainment and feeling more connected than ever before. In two weeks we will be sharing the results of a recent study by well-respected economists who have researched the societal and economic impacts brought about because of nbn.

The study shows a material difference in how people live, work and connect. For example, people using nbn are 1.4 times more likely to socialise using the internet than non-nbn users, they are 1.3 times more likely to use internet-connected devices to improve health and wellbeing and 2 times more likely to enrol in an online education course. We can see the evidence of job creation, improved equality and greater levels of self-employment, particularly for women. You will hear more about this shortly but know that while many of us have always believed this to be the case, we now have evidence proving how the people behind nbn are making a difference.

At times my role at nbn has been challenging, relentless, and yes, sometimes frustrating but never has there been a time that I wasn’t proud to be a part of the nbn team. Your Board and Executive Committee is a world class team of people who will champion the cause for as long as nbn exists. We operate in a way that is greater than any one individual and because of this, I have no doubt about your ongoing success for years to come.

So…, given we still have nine more months together, I kindly ask for your ongoing support in three areas: 1) improving the customer experience for those touch points we control; 2) advancing the build of a high quality network; and 3) finding ways to keep our costs down so we can keep our services affordable for everyone.

When the time is right, I would like to see you for a proper farewell but for now it is business as usual as we press on toward our goal of eight million happy homes by the year 2020.

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