Openreach chairman becomes favorite in the Ofcom race

Mr McTighe, 68, is said to be a popular choice among telecoms executives and their regulators, having been at the center of a sea change in the UK telecoms industry over the past five years.

He was appointed Openreach’s first independent chairman in 2016 after a bitter row in which rivals accused BT of underinvesting and overearning from its monopoly on Britain’s broadband infrastructure.

As a result, Ofcom imposed a “legal separation” between BT and Openreach, giving the network arm more autonomy to treat all broadband retailers equally.

Mr McTighe, who previously spent eight years on the Ofcom board and chaired boards in the energy and financial services sectors, has been credited with mending the relationship between Openreach and its non-BT customers, including Sky and Vodafone, by improving installations and repairs. .

One of his first acts as chairman was to publicly criticize BT management for underinvesting in broadband upgrades. Openreach now plans to connect 25 million homes to a faster, more reliable fiber optic network by the end of 2026.

Mr McTighe’s bid could face some opposition from rival network builders and retail providers such as TalkTalk, which has been in a dispute with Openreach over unpaid fees.

He would face a six-month purdah period to sort out any potential conflicts of interest, according to sources familiar with the nomination process.

Openreach declined to comment.

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