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Chorus appoints former NBN exec JB Rousselot as new CEO

Chorus has looked across the Tasman for someone to take over the reins, hiring former NBN executive JB Rousselot as chief executive effective from Nov. 20.

The telecommunications network operator's existing CEO, Kate McKenzie, unexpectedly announced her departure in August, although the board had been considering succession for some time. She was a former Telstra executive, having been in charge of field services, IT and network architecture and operations for the Australian company.

Rousselot finishes up this month at NBN - Australia's equivalent to Chorus - where he followed his former Telstra boss, Ziggy Switkowski, almost six years ago. Prior to joining NBN, he held senior roles at Telstra as executive director of voice, the BigPond internet service provider, and media.

"As the build nears completion, the company’s focus turns to delivering on the full potential of the world-class fibre infrastructure that has been built for New Zealand," Chorus chair Patrick Strange said in a statement.

"JB has the right mix of skills and experience to drive innovation, efficiency and customer focus."

McKenzie formally steps down on Nov. 19, but will stay on for another month in an advisory role to help Rousselot settle in. The pair both worked at Telstra through much of the 2000s and early 2010s.

Separately, Chorus said it attracted record demand for fibre connections in the September quarter with 46,000 added. Total connections rose by 10,000 to 1.21 million in the quarter and were up from 1.19 million a year earlier.

Total fixed-line connections fell by 6,000 to 1.44 million, with more fibre connections offsetting the decline in copper lines.

Chorus had 645,000 fibre connections as at Sept. 30, accounting for 45 percent of total connections. That compares to 479,000 connections a year earlier, or 32 percent.

The company said it has completed 82 percent of the government-sponsored ultrafast broadband roll-out with 863,000 premises passed. UFB uptake was 55 percent, an improvement from 53 percent in the June quarter.

Chorus shares closed at $5.10 yesterday, and have increased 5.2 percent so far this year.


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