Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Just a simple aide memoire for people who might need to write articles about Ziggy Switkowski.

His Wikipedia bio only mentions his Kodak and Optus careers in passing.  The CWU division of the CEPU provides a bit more.  In particular, that he was chairman and MD of Kodak (Australia) and was credited with the rescue of Kodak. Kodak was almost a basket case but the Labor Federal Government offered incentives. 

On 30 April 1996 he was announced as the new CEO of Optus, and resigned just over a year later on 13 June 1997.  My recollection - though journalists should check their newspaper archives - was that he fell out with the Board over his inability to develop a strategy.

After eighteen months as GMD of Telstra's Group Managing Director, Business & International Switkowski was appointed CEO of Telstra on 1 March 1999.  When his departure was announced in December 2004 the 7:30 Report noted that every time his departure had been rumoured the share price had picked up.

Despite reports - the latest being by Terry McCrann today - that Dr Switkowski has been "tapped" by Malcolom Turnbull to be Executive Chairman of NBN Co, Mr Turnbull has reminded everyone this is a Cabinet appointment.

It would, however, be an extraordinary appointment.  Mr Turnbull has repeatedly said the NBN Co Board needs experienced telco people, especially those who can roll out a network.

This just doesn't seem to be a description of John Howard's former nuclear power adviser.  His record as a CEO is;

  • Turned Kodak around - temporarily - only after a large subsidy from the (Labor) Government.
  • Could not deliver a strategy for Opyus.
  • Had a disastrous record of $5 billion in acquisitions at Telstra and ended by contemplating - while still majority owned by the Government - buying the Nine Network.
One just wonders what he could do for NBN Co.

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