Appointment comes a month before business could be forced to split from telecoms giant over competition concerns

Clive Selley is due to take over from Joe Garner in early 2016.
Clive Selley is due to take over from Joe Garner in early 2016. Photograph: Liam Bailey/BT

BT has appointed a new boss for its Openreach business, a month before it could be forced to give up the broadband network division altogether.

Clive Selley, the boss of BT’s technology arm, will replace Joe Garner, who isleaving to become chief executive of the world’s biggest building society, Nationwide.

Selley’s tenure could be overshadowed, however, by a looming decision from the telecoms regulator Ofcom about Openreach’s future.

Rivals such as Sky and TalkTalk say Openreach, which owns the “last mile” of fibre and copper wire to customers’ homes, gives BT an unfair advantage .

The price BT charges its competitors to use the network is regulated, but it has been accused of underinvestment and poor customer service, hampering rivals.

BT argues that it is the only company with the resources to invest in the network.

Ofcom is considering several options to overhaul how access to Britain’s broadband network is managed, and has said the status quo is unlikely to be maintained.

Options include a complete split from BT, an increase in regulation to improve conditions for competitors or the promotion of competing networks.

Losing Openreach would be a big blow to BT’s finances, given that it provided £5bn of £17.8bn revenue last year, £2.6bn out of £6.3bn in underlying profit and more than half of its £2.8bn free cash flow.

Ofcom is expected to announce its decision on Openreach’s future in February.

Selley is due to take over from Garner some time this quarter, meaning he could find himself taking the reins of a business destined for a split from BT.

“Clive is one of the UK’s foremost experts in network technology and digital infrastructure,” said BT. “He brings considerable technological and management experience, having held numerous senior positions at BT, both in the UK and overseas.”

 [Source:- the gurdian]

By Adam