NBN Co chair Dr Ziggy Switkowski to step down

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NBN Co chair Dr Ziggy Switkowski to step down

New chair and non-executive director appointed.

NBN Co has unveiled a board shakeup with Dr Ziggy Switkowski set to leave his role as chair at the end of the year, with current board member Kate McKenzie to succeed him.

The vacant board spot will be filled by Nerida Caesar, who will be a non-executive director for three years from January 1, 2022.

All three - Dr Switkowski, McKenzie and Caesar - were at one time former senior executives at Telstra.

Dr Switkowski has been NBN Co board chair since 2013, and was twice re-appointed for additional three-year terms.

The most recent re-appointment would have had him complete his term in October 2022; however, today’s announcement means he will finish up by the end 2021 instead.

Back in August, Dr Switkowski was named as Crown Resorts chair; he was pressured to step down from his other role as RMIT chancellor not long after.

Finance minister Simon Birmingham and Communications minister Paul Fletcher jointly thanked Dr Switkowski “for his years of outstanding service as chair of the board.”

“In his capacity as chair, Dr Switkowski oversaw the completion of the initial build of the network and the beginning of NBN Co’s transition to a mature operating company,” the two ministers said in a statement.

“Dr Switkowski also oversaw NBN Co’s approach to private debt markets and the substantial reduction in the Commonwealth loan” - the latter being a reference to the amount NBN Co needs to refinance.

His replacement, Kate McKenzie, was formerly the chief executive of Chorus New Zealand in addition to being a longtime Telstra executive.

Caesar, meanwhile, “is a non-executive director of Westpac, a member of its technology committee, and legal, regulatory and compliance committee,” the government said, noting her former executive roles at Telstra, Equifax, and IBM.

“These appointments will add to the strength of the diverse leadership making up the board and will continue its focus on overseeing the transition of NBN Co to its operational phase following the completion of the network build,” the ministers added.

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