New chairman named for Openreach Scotland to replace 40-year industry veteran

Openreach, the digital network business spun out of BT, will have a new chairman to lead its Scottish board from the end of March.

Katie Milligan will lead Openreach’s Scotland board when current chair and industry veteran Brendan Dick retires. Picture: Ian Jacobs Photography
Katie Milligan will lead Openreach’s Scotland board when current chair and industry veteran Brendan Dick retires. Picture: Ian Jacobs Photography

Katie Milligan will lead the group’s Scotland board when current chair and industry veteran Brendan Dick retires.

Milligan, who hails from Ardrossan in Ayrshire, is already head of customer, commercial and propositions at Openreach.

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As an established member of the executive team, she heads up the firm’s £5 billion portfolio of products and services and leads its relationships with hundreds of companies such as BT, Sky and TalkTalk that provide services using the vast Openreach network.

Dick is retiring after leading Openreach Scotland through its independence from BT Group in 2018 and establishing the Scotland board and strategy. The board brings together the company’s senior leaders to collaborate, plan investment and share resources to deliver the biggest impact across rural and urban Scotland.

Milligan 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.”

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.”

Dick 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.

“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.”

Openreach has a direct workforce of about 3,200 people across the country supported by 700 working for partners in its supply chain. The firm said it had helped bring superfast broadband to nearly 95 per cent of Scotland.

Milligan joined the company 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.

Dick joined BT in 1980. Prior to joining Openreach to chair the Scotland board in 2018, he was BT Group director in Scotland and MD of BT UK Nations & Regions.

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