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Telecoms switch

Milligan takes Openreach chair as veteran Dick retires

Brendan Dick and Katie Milligan

Telecoms veteran Brendan Dick is retiring as chairman of digital network provider Openreach Scotland and will be succeeded by senior executive Katie Milligan.

Mr Dick steps down after leading the business through its independence from BT Group in 2018 and establishing the Scotland board and strategy.

He joined the BT Group in September 1980 and rose to become group director in Scotland and MD of BT UK Nations & Regions.

A graduate of the University of Edinburgh, much of his early career was spent in information technology, designing, developing and deploying large systems across the UK.

He said: “Throughout my career it’s been an honour and privilege to work with people who are focused on making a real difference. What Openreach does in Scotland matters. Our network has underpinned the economy during this year’s restrictions.”

He added: “It remains vital that everybody works together to exploit the digital capability Scotland already has. It’s essential for recovery in the short term – and Scotland’s success in the world beyond that.” 

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Ms Milligan is managing director, customer, commercial and propositions, heading up its £5bn portfolio of products and services.

She leads its relationships with companies such as BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen which provide services using the Openreach network.

Ms Milligan joined Openreach in 2009 and was previously its commercial director, leading teams through projects including the design and delivery of superfast fibre products and high bandwidth propositions for businesses and large organisations.

A graduate of the Business School at the University of Strathclyde, she previously held several senior positions at BT Group.

She said: “This is a crucial time for the development of Scottish digital infrastructure, as we pave the way to analogue switch-off in 2025.

“I look forward to working with the Scotland senior team to reinforce our long-term commitment to Scotland, build on the impact our network has and help the country make the move to new technologies as they emerge.”

Clive Selley, chief executive of Openreach and a Scotland board member, said: “In a time of rapid change, I’m pleased to appoint an executive of Katie’s calibre to the head of Scotland’s biggest digital engineering business.

“Her strategic leadership and commercial acumen will be vital as we accelerate our ultrafast broadband build across the nation and deliver the Scottish Government’s hugely challenging R100 build alongside our very significant private investment.”

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He added: “We’ve been really fortunate to have Brendan at the helm over the last 30 months and he leaves us in good shape. He has tirelessly championed digital connectivity for Scotland over decades. We wish him all the very best for his retirement.”

Openreach is Scotland’s only national digital network provider, with a direct workforce of 3,200 people across the country supported by around 700 people working for partners in its supply chain.

The company is building gigabit-capable, full fibre broadband networks across the country as part of a £12bn plan to reach up to 20 million UK premises by the mid-to-late 2020s.

Scotland ahead in digital public services

A new report shows Scotland is ahead of the UK and most of Europe in digital public services but needs to do more to compete with Nordic countries.

Researchers used ‘mystery shoppers’ to find out what it was like dealing with public services in Scotland at eight major life events – including starting a business, moving house and studying.

Scotland scored 67% on the key benchmarks – compared to 54% for the UK as a whole and 59% on average for the EU. However, it found more work is needed on the “building blocks” of digital government to reach the same level as high-performing Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

The Scottish Government commissioned consulting firm Capgemini Invent to produce the report as part of work to deliver a refreshed digital strategy for Scotland.

Public Finance Minister Ben Macpherson said: “Scotland is working to become a digital leader in an interconnected world, and the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has made clearer than ever the importance of good digital public services.

“This report confirms that we’re already ahead of the game when it comes to digital public services and I want to make sure we build on that progress.”

Jane Morrison-Ross, CEO of digital technologies industry trade body ScotlandIS, said: “We live in a Scotland where digital underpins our most important public services to deliver a healthier, more environmentally conscious, wealthier and inclusive nation.”



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