NBN Co hires Telstra executive JB Rousselot
JB Rousselot: NBN Co's new head of strategy and transformation. Photo: Andrew Quilty
Former Labor staffer and state director Mike Kaiser will leave NBN Co immediately to make way for a former Telstra executive and personal friend of Malcolm Turnbull’s. The new appointee will be put in charge of the company’s strategy and transformation.
NBN Co confirmed JB Rousselot would join the company on Wednesday, ending months of speculation.
Rousselot was most recently the executive director of media and IPTV at Telstra, but he was also close to the new Communications Minister having previously worked at OzEmail and an advisory firm run by Turnbull. Last year Turnbull described Rousselot as "one of my good friends".
"He is a brilliant fellow and he is probably the most numerate person I have employed and I have employed many people over the years," Turnbull said in an interview with Fairfax Media in 2012.
NBN Co’s executive chairman, Ziggy Switkowski, said Rousselot would report directly to the chief executive and lead the strategic review ordered by the new government.
"Mr Rousselot will help oversee the continuing transition process as NBN Co moves to deliver the government’s policy of deploying a broader mix of technologies to ensure every Australian is able to receive very fast broadband," Switkowski said in a statement.
Rousselot’s arrival means NBN Co’s current head of quality, Mike Kaiser, would depart the company immediately.
Kaiser’s appointment in late 2009 was controversial because he was handpicked by former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and had a long history with the Labor Party. He served as Queensland state secretary in the 1990s and was chief of staff to two former premiers. However, Kaiser’s was forced to resign as a Queensland MP after the 2001 Shepardson inquiry into electoral fraud found he was implicated in branch-stacking in the mid-1980s.
On Wednesday Switkowski said Kaiser was "well regarded and [a] committed executive having worked across the [NBN Co] on many of its biggest initiatives. I thank him for his many contributions and wish him well for the next phase of his career".
Rousselot is the second confirmed former Telstra executive at NBN Co. NBN Co has not yet confirmed the appointment of a third, Justine Milne, who reportedly started working at the company this week.