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Olivia Garfield to be new Openreach Chief Executive


Olivia Garfield is to become Chief Executive of Openreach, BT’s local access network business, effective from April 1. She is currently BT Group Director of Strategy and Regulatory Affairs, where she oversees the company’s fibre broadband strategy and other key areas.

Garfield takes over from Steve Robertson, who has led Openreach since its foundation in 2005. Robertson is to remain with BT to help ensure a smooth handover before leaving to exploit new opportunities.

Openreach operates at arms length from the rest of BT, ensuring that all communications providers are given open and equivalent access to the BT network. Since Openreach’s creation, approximately 500 communications providers have signed contracts to use the network, resulting in Britain having the most competitive telecommunications market in the world.

Garfield’s task will be to build on the foundations laid by Robertson. These include delivery of one of the fastest and most ambitious deployments of super-fast fibre broadband in the world. Openreach has already made super-fast connections available to more than four million premises. Garfield will now oversee delivery of fibre to two thirds of UK homes and businesses by the end of 2015 - and to an even greater proportion of premises as public funding becomes available to get to areas where the economic case is more challenging.

Garfield said: “Openreach is a terrific business - one that underpins much of the UK economy - so being selected to lead it is a fantastic opportunity and one that I am thrilled to have been offered.

“Competition in UK telecommunications has led to low prices and innovative new services, and my aim is to ensure that continues. Fibre broadband is the future and I am determined to make it available to as many homes and businesses as possible via a wide range of providers.”

Ian Livingston, BT Chief Executive, said: "Steve Robertson became Chief Executive of Openreach before it was set up - he effectively created a new division of the Group. His achievements at the helm of Openreach have been tremendous. He decided a while ago that, after six years running Openreach, it was time to pass over to someone else to take the business on to the next stage of transformation. His enthusiasm and drive will be missed.

“Given Steve’s departure, I am delighted to be able to announce that Liv Garfield succeeds him. She has done a fabulous job as Strategy Director and has gained recognition both in and beyond BT for her leadership skills.”

Sean Williams, who heads Strategy for BT Retail, is to replace Garfield as Group Strategy Director. He previously held Board director positions at Ofcom, the Office of Fair Trading and Williams Lea Group plc.


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