Euronews: Openreach CEO Jumps Ship

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Bellens is on his way; AlcaLu partners with NextiraOne; MegaFon's DREAM project; Skype cleared of snooping.

  • Liv Garfield, the highly rated CEO of Openreach , BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)'s access network unit, is to quit in spring 2014 to become CEO of utility company Severn Water. Garfield has overseen the rollout of BT's fiber network, which has not been entirely controversy-free but has helped set the stage for the operator's broadband-based future. (See Liv Garfield Quits BT Openreach and Euronews: BT Expands FTTX Rollout.)

    Liv Garfield: Forsaking fiber for water.
    Liv Garfield: Forsaking fiber for water.

  • It's official: Didier Bellens, the CEO of Belgacom SA (Euronext: BELG), is on his way. Bellens upset both regional and federal government in various ways, which isn't a good idea when the government is the majority shareholder in your company. Ray Stewart, Belgacom's CFO, will take temporary charge of the company until a permanent replacement is found. In this company statement, the hope was expressed that Stewart and his team "will see to it that the daily functioning of the company continues in a serene and efficient way," -- which is another way of warning the management team not to mouth off about the government. (See Euronews: Belgacom CEO for the High Jump.)

  • Alcatel-Lucent has forged a three-year global partnership with NextiraOne that strengthens the duo's relationship in the enterprise communications technology and services market. See this press release for more information. The news comes as market speculation suggests Alcatel-Lucent is once again seeking to offload its enterprise business. (See Euronews: AlcaLu's Enterprise Biz Back on the Block .)

  • Russian operator MegaFon has completed the first phase of its 100G "Diverse Route for European and Asian Markets" (DREAM) project, which runs from Frankfurt-am-Main in Germany to the Kazakhstan-China border. This first phase, which was completed with the help of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , provides DWDM channels with speeds of up to 10 Gbit/s. (See MegaFon Completes Phase 1 of DREAM Project.)

  • The Luxembourg data protection regulator has cleared Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s Skype Ltd. unit of data privacy violations connected to the ongoing NSA controversy, reports Bloomberg. What's it got to do with little ol' Luxembourg? That's where the two tax-savvy companies choose to have their European headquarters.

  • A one-year study conducted in secondary schools in East Africa and funded by Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has concluded that ICT in education is a great idea -- but only if its introduction is supported by appropriate teacher training, reliable connectivity, and a consistent energy supply. See this press release for more details on the project.

  • And finally: Never mind the snow-capped majesty of the Alps, I wanna get on Facebook! The European Commission has given the all-clear to airlines to allow passengers to use 3G and 4G technology when flying over European Union airspace (until now only 2G was allowed). Of course, it will be up to the individual airlines to decide which services they will offer passengers, and to equip their aircraft accordingly. More details of the Commission's decision are available here.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • [email protected] 11/18/2013 | 12:49:10 PM
    Re: Should Liv Garfield have been CEO of BT? You are not wrong, Dan -- Patterson came up through the ranks and is leading BT's charge into the world of sports content + broadband services etc

    It was my view (not sure how widely shared) that Garfield seemed like a CEO in waiting - she has all the right attributes to be a successful leader of a major business and she will need all of her qualities to be the head of a water utiility company in the UK at a time when such organizations are coming under increasing scrutiny.

    Would she have been a better choice than Patterson for BT? Those who know both of them (and the BT board) well would be better placed to provide an informed opinion. 

    I bet she would have been a good head of BT, though.
    DOShea 11/18/2013 | 11:20:26 AM
    Re: Should Liv Garfield have been CEO of BT? Seems like she made a pretty good case to get the top job with Openreach's performance. Although--and correct me if I'm wrong--CEO Gavin Patterson has recent retail market experience at a time when BT is looking to shift more focus to services and content.
    [email protected] 11/18/2013 | 9:01:18 AM
    Should Liv Garfield have been CEO of BT? So, here's the question -- should Garfield have been appointed CEO of BT in the summer?
    [email protected] 11/18/2013 | 7:54:02 AM
    A natural CEO candidate Garfield is a formidable operator - sharp, informed, tenacious. I had her pegged as a future BT CEO.

    So when BT appointed Gavin Patterson as its new CEO earlier this year, I guess Garfield might have wondered if her chance would ever come...


    In terms of business leaders, Severn Water's gain is BT/Openreach's loss.
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