BT has appointed former Ofcom board member Mike McTighe as the first Chairman of Openreach, the division which manages the UK’s largest fixed line phone and broadband network.
The group is currently in discussions with Ofcom about the future governance of Openreach following a regulatory review which called for greater separation between the division and the rest of BT’s businesses.
Although the review stopped short of forcing the sale of Openreach, the regulator said it should be spun off into a legally separate business with its own management, staff and board, in order to address concerns that it favours BT’s own customers and product needs over those of rival ISPs which use the network.
BT has always denied giving its consumer business any preferential treatment but has undertaken to create a new board which will oversee Openreach and make the unit “more independent and transparent.”
The board will be responsible for setting Openreach’s strategy and will work with CEO Clive Selley and his management team to ensure all users of the network are treated fairly and equally.
McTighe, who served on the Ofcom board for 8 years and has also held senior positions at Motorola, Philips, Cable & Wireless and Cambridge Semiconductor, will be “instrumental” in selecting “independent” members for the board.
His appointment was announced by Sir Michael Rake, Chairman of BT Group, who said: “I am delighted that Mike has agreed to be the first Chairman of Openreach. He has extensive experience and I am sure Openreach will benefit from his detailed industry and regulatory knowledge.
“We promised in July to create an Openreach Board and we are delivering on that promise.
“I remain hopeful this significant move by BT can help to underpin a sustainable, proportionate and fair regulatory settlement that is in the interests of the whole country.”
McTighe added: “Openreach is at the heart of the digital economy and I am thrilled to take up this important role.
“A great deal has been achieved over the past decade but it is clear that Openreach needs to up its game on service and regain the trust of the people we serve in the industry and across the UK.
“Clive is making great progress on both fronts and I look forward to working with him to ensure the UK has the best possible digital infrastructure.
“I also look forward to meeting with the many service providers who rely on Openreach services or who are keen to use its ducts and poles to build their own networks”.