The chief executive of BT’s Openreach fibre division, Liv Garfield, is leaving the company to become the chief of water firm Severn Trent, BT has announced. It marks the latest shakeup in BT’s management over the last few months.
Garfield (pictured left) has worked at BT for 12 years, and overseen its Openreach division since April 2011. During this time Openreach has added 13 million more connections thanks to BT's fibre rollouts, some of which were secured under the government's Broadband Delivery UK framework.
The Openreach division has had its critics though, with claims it is helping BT create a monopoly on the UK’s broadband networks, while the firm has also been criticised for not revealing rollout locations for rural contracts that it has signed with councils.
Garfield said it was a tough decision to leave Openreach but she felt the time was right for a change.
“It is a huge wrench to leave Openreach, but I feel the time is now right to take on a fresh challenge,” she said.
She also hailed the efforts of the division's engineers as the lifeblood of Openreach. "These dedicated men and women work in challenging conditions underground and up telegraph poles – often battling extreme weather – to keep the UK’s critical communications network up and running," she said.
The departure of Garfield follows that of the overall chief executive of BT Ian Livingston who left the firm in September for a post in government, to be replaced by Gavin Patterson.
The shakeups come as BT battles Sky for control of the nation's living rooms. The firm has splashed out huge amounts of money for rights to football competitions, in an effort to secure subscriptions by bundling sport with its broadband subscriptions.
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