Banking director, Harrison Young, has been announced as the new chairman of NBN Co and will begin his $185,000 a year role immediately.
According to Young, a mutual acquaintance introduced him to Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy secretary, Peter Harris.
But the new chairman said his lack of telecommunications experience was initially a concern when taking on the role.
“I need to learn the topic and the situation, it’s a complicated industry and I don’t have any background in it,” he said. “I hope I can pick it up fast enough to be useful.
“When I first talked to Peter I said ‘I’m not a telecoms guy’ and he said ‘we have telecoms people. What we need is a chairman’. When you look at the mix of skills we’ve got, the job of a chairman is to make the board as a whole effective.
“I’m excited and honoured. It looks like a fascinating project.”
According to a statement released by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, Young brought executive and directorial experience to the board.
“The appointment will allow [former acting Chairman, Mike Quigley] to focus his attention on the substantial demands of rolling out the NBN,” a statement from the Minister’s office said. “Quigley will continue his role as CEO of NBN Co and as a director on the NBN Co board.”
The Minister was also keen to specifically claim he had no involvement in the decision to appoint Young as chairman.
Young is a director of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the chairman of electric vehicle services provider, Better Place (Australia) Pty Ltd, and serves on the Court of Directors of the Bank of England.
The chairman said he expected the board would meet once a month and would not drop any of his other directorial or chairman roles.
“I think [Quigley’s] happy not to have the additional duty,” Young said. “This is not a trivial task... I will be fully occupied.”
He was previously chairman of Morgan Stanley Australia from 2003 to 2007 and was a managing director and vice chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia before that. He also spent two years in Beijing working as Chief Executive of China International Capital Corporation.