BT Names Clive Selley as New Openreach CEO

Selley will replace Joe Garner before the end of March and takes over at a transitional time for BT and the Openreach business.

Iain Morris, International Editor

January 11, 2016

4 Min Read
BT Names Clive Selley as New Openreach CEO

BT has appointed Clive Selley as the new CEO of its Openreach access networks division. (See BT's Clive Selley Named as New Openreach CEO.)

As the CEO of BT technology, service and operations (TSO), Selley is effectively the UK operator's current CTO/CIO. He will replace Openreach CEO Joe Garner, who is leaving the UK fixed-line operator to become boss of Nationwide Building Society.

Selley will move into his new position before the end of March, by which time BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) is expected to have completed its £12.5 billion (US$18.2 billion) takeover of mobile operator EE . (See BT Locks Down £12.5B EE Takeover Deal.)

Figure 1: Heading to Openreach Clive Selley will vacate his role as head of BT's Technology, Service and Operations (TSO) team to take over as CEO of Openreach. Clive Selley will vacate his role as head of BT's Technology, Service and Operations (TSO) team to take over as CEO of Openreach.

The merger could present Selley with a major challenge as Openreach adapts to the new reality of working with and alongside a mobile networks business that is also a part of the BT Group.

The appointment also comes as BT gets ready to start investing in a commercial deployment of technology, which is intended to boost the connection speeds the operator can deliver over last-mile copper loops.

BT spent much of last year testing and trialing and has outlined plans of using the technology to provide 300-500Mbit/s services to about 10 million UK premises by 2020. (See Long-Range, High-Speed Gfast Is Coming – BT and BT Puts at Heart of Ultra-Fast Broadband Plans.)

Selley's resume should make him an ideal replacement for Garner in the present circumstances: He is described as an expert in networks, software development and IT and has been ultimately responsible for the research and development work on and other network technologies that BT has been carrying out at its Adastral Park facility in Suffolk.

For more fixed broadband market coverage and insights, check out our dedicated broadband content channel here on Light Reading.

But technology advances are not the only reason these are interesting times for Openreach.

Created ten years ago to satisfy regulatory demands for greater transparency and a more level playing field in the UK broadband market, Openreach has recently been the target of criticism from a number of the UK's other service providers.

Players such as Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) and TalkTalk would like to see Openreach spun off into an entirely separate company and sever its links to the rest of the BT Group.

Keen to avoid purchasing backhaul services from a company that will soon become its biggest mobile rival, Vodafone recently struck an agreement with CityFibre -- a smaller competitive player rolling out fiber networks -- that could provide Vodafone with a backhaul alternative to BT in future. (See Vodafone UK Looking Into 1Gbit/s 4G.)

Meanwhile, TalkTalk, which has long complained about the fees Openreach charges for network access, has been trialing its own fiber-to-the-home network in the city of York in partnership with CityFibre and Sky , a broadband rival. (See TalkTalk Unveils Cut-Price Gigabit Service.)

Selley's job may involve placating existing customers and convincing them that Openreach's offerings remain superior to those of its infrastructure rivals.

"The huge investment it has made over the past decade has made the UK a broadband leader, and we need to build on those foundations by deploying fiber to further communities and by rolling out ultrafast broadband," said Selley in a statement. "Customer service is a top priority of mine and I am committed to delivering further improvements by working closely with all industry partners who rely on our network to serve their customers."

BT says a successor to Selley at TSO will be announced "in due course."

— Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Iain Morris

International Editor, Light Reading

Iain Morris joined Light Reading as News Editor at the start of 2015 -- and we mean, right at the start. His friends and family were still singing Auld Lang Syne as Iain started sourcing New Year's Eve UK mobile network congestion statistics. Prior to boosting Light Reading's UK-based editorial team numbers (he is based in London, south of the river), Iain was a successful freelance writer and editor who had been covering the telecoms sector for the past 15 years. His work has appeared in publications including The Economist (classy!) and The Observer, besides a variety of trade and business journals. He was previously the lead telecoms analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit, and before that worked as a features editor at Telecommunications magazine. Iain started out in telecoms as an editor at consulting and market-research company Analysys (now Analysys Mason).

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes it's completely free.

You May Also Like