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Openreach Appoints Fourth Independent Board Member

Press release   •   Feb 14, 2017 09:56 GMT

Openreach, the UK’s leading digital infrastructure provider, has appointed Liz Benison as a non-executive member of its newly formed Board. Benison is currently Chief Executive, UK & Europe, Local & Regional Government at international public services provider Serco - and her appointment completes an independent majority on the Board alongside Chairman Mike McTighe, Sir Brendan Barber and Edward Astle.

Establishing the Board is one of a number of governance and executive changes being made at Openreach to bolster its transparency and autonomy, with new senior managerial roles responsible for strategy, regulatory affairs and corporate affairs all reporting directly to the CEO, Clive Selley.

Mike McTighe, Chairman of Openreach, said: “We are determined to meet our customers’ expectations and to strengthen the autonomy, governance and transparency of Openreach, so we are putting a strong team in place to deliver that.

“Liz brings a wealth of experience in building businesses through forging strong relationships with clients and delivering long and complex contracts in the service industry. She is also passionate about good service and British innovation so Openreach is the perfect fit for her knowledge and expertise. Liz will play a key role in helping us to work more closely with all of our communication provider customers.”

The new executive roles include appointments for Richard Allwood as Chief Strategy Officer, Mark Shurmer as Managing Director of Regulatory Affairs, Catherine Colloms as Director of Corporate Affairs and Katie Milligan as Managing Director for Customer, Commercial and Propositions (CCP).

Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach, said: “These senior leadership changes are all about strengthening our relationship with the outside world and building even more productive partnerships with everyone that has a stake in our business.”

“Openreach is crucial to the UK’s thriving digital economy and our people already play an important and active role in communities throughout the country. I am confident that becoming even more transparent and collaborative will help Openreach deliver better service, broader coverage and faster speeds for consumers and businesses across the country.”

The Openreach board is made up of seven members:

  • Mike McTighe, Openreach Chairman
  • Edward Astle
  • Sir Brendan Barber
  • Liz Benison
  • Clive Selley, Openreach Chief Executive
  • Clare Sadlier, Openreach Chief Finance Officer
  • Simon Lowth, BT Group Finance Director


About Liz Benison, Chief Executive Officer, Serco UK & Europe Local and Regional Government

Liz is an experienced divisional Chief Executive, who has wide experience in the business services market.

Liz currently runs Serco's UK and Europe Local and Regional Government business, focussing on customers in Health and Local Government. She joined Serco in 2014 from Computer Science Corporation (CSC) where she spent the previous three years as VP and General Manager for their UK business.

Prior to joining CSC, Liz was VP COO of Capgemini’s Financial Services Division, and before that UK Chief Operating Officer of Xansa plc. She joined Xansa via the acquisition of a start-up company, Druid, where Liz was the UK MD.

Her early career was spent as a manufacturing engineer in Ford and Jaguar. She graduated from Nottingham University with a first class degree in Production Engineering and Management.

Liz lives with her family in Reading.

About Openreach

Openreach is the UK’s leading digital infrastructure provider.

Its 32,000 employees are responsible for building and maintaining millions of miles of fibre and copper cables that connect every home and business in the UK to local telephone exchanges. Openreach operates and maintains this network to deliver a range of wholesale services for more than 560 retail providers, who in-turn provide telephony, broadband, TV and data services to more than 30 million consumer and business customers throughout the country.

Openreach is a highly regulated business, with more than 90 per cent of its revenues generated from services that are regulated by Ofcom. Any company can access its products under exactly the same prices, terms and conditions.

Over the last decade, Openreach has invested more than £10bn into its network and is currently building the UK’s largest fibre broadband footprint. This technology is available to more than 26 million homes and businesses, with tens of thousands more gaining access each week.

Openreach is a wholly owned and independently governed division of the BT Group. For the year ended 31 March 2016, it reported revenues of £5.1bn.

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