A snub and a fit of pique? No, it's water off a duck's back as BT Openreach CEO goes from H2O

Nov 28, 2013

So, the head of BT Openreach, Liv Garfield, has resigned just a couple of months after new CEO Gavin Patterson took the reins of the UK's still powerful incumbent telco. Mr. Patterson follows a quiet predecessor, the almost invisible bean counter, Ian Livingston - or Baron Livingston of Parkhead we should now learn to call him as the pantomime season gets underway.

Mr. Livingston did a good job at BT and the company's share price and credibility rose accordingly, but he was an elusive CEO. Could we ever get an interview with the good lord? No we could not, try as we might. He was the very opposite of his predecessor, as below the radar and unavailable as Ben Verwaayen had been up-and-over the parapet and ever happy, eager even, to talk on the record.

Openreach, was established in 2006 in a concordat between BT and the UK telecoms regulator Ofcom, with the remit to ensure that BT rival's got equality of access to the incumbent's local network and the prized 'last mile".

Ms. Garfield, renowned for her fast-talking approach to business and colleagues, was at the telco for 12 years and was regarded as a rising star in the BT firmament. However, she had not made it on to the Board of Directors so her influence was limited. Thus she was on the sidelines rather than waiting in the wings when Gavin Patterson got the top job and after a couple of months she voted with her feet and left.

Aged 38 and describing herself as "an ordinary working mother with two kids and a busy day job," Liv Garfield has been appointed as CEO of Severn Trent, one of the UK's privatised water utilities. Back in 2008 it was fined £35 million for fraud and abysmal customer service. She will earn £1.2 million per annum. Hopefully one of her priorities will be to get someone to waterproof BT's street cabinets.

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