Monday 16 November 2015 8:25 am

BT Openreach boss Joe Garner steps down to move to Nationwide


I am City A.M.'s digital editor. Having previously worked at Property Week and Management Today, my areas of expertise are housing, entrepreneurs and leadership, as well as cars and the automotive industry. In 2015 I won the British Media Awards' Rising Star of the Year award.

I am City A.M.'s digital editor. Having previously worked at Property Week and Management Today, my areas of expertise are housing, entrepreneurs and leadership, as well as cars and the automotive industry. In 2015 I won the British Media Awards' Rising Star of the Year award.

The chief executive of BT Openreach has handed in his notice, after he was offered a job leading high street lender Nationwide. It's not exactly classic timing: BT's local access network division is currently at the centre of a competition row.

In a statement today, BT said Joe Garner will step down in the spring of 2016, after he decided to "take up a new challenge". The company hasn't hired his replacement yet – it said a successor will be named in "due course". 

Openreach provides broadband infrastructure – namely, the underground cables – which it then leases to other broadband providers. In recent months it's been at the centre of an investigation by communications regulator Ofcom, which is looking into whether the company should be spun-off from BT. 

Last week Vodafone chief Vittorio Colao waded into the debate, accusing BT of trying to "re-monopolise" the sector, with Sky and TalkTalk both throwing their weight behind Vodafone. 

"BT has a poverty of ambition," Sky chief financial officer Andrew Griffith wrote.

"Its only focus is to squeeze more out of a copper network which in some cases dates back to the time of WW1."

This morning Garner said the decision to depart had been "extremely hard". 

"Nationwide is a firm I long admired during my time in financial services. The opportunity to become chief executive of one of Britain's most important financial institutions and serves champions just proved too good to turn down."

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