New waves of speculation were sweeping over NBN Co last night after the company’s head of construction, Patrick Flannigan, pictured, resigned without explantion.
His departure closely follows the move by NBN Co management to suspend negotiations with 14 companies tendering for work on the National Broadband Network construction, but it was unclear last night whether the matters were related.
Late yesterday, Flannigan told The Australian the decision to leave NBN Co was entirely his, but declined to give any reasons for his departure.
“It’s my decision to leave and it’s between myself and the company,” he said. “It’s an amicable separation and I fully support the project. I think it’s both a visionary and courageous project and I think it’s the right thing to do for this country.”
Flannigan refused to comment on speculation there was friction between him and NBN Co’s head of corporate services Kevin Brown over the suspended construction tender.
“I’d rather not make a comment on that,” he said.
NBN Co’s decision to suspend the construction tender process was due to alleged price gouging tactics by the would-be contractors, NBN Co sources said.
Flannigan was formerly CEO of ASX-listed Service Stream, one of the companies in NBN Co’s shortlist of 14 companies tendering for construction work on the network. That list had been winnowed down from an original 45.
Flannigan declined to comment on speculation there was friction between himself and NBN Co’s head of corporate services Kevin Brown over the suspended construction tender.
NBN Co was also being prudent in its comments. “We are disappointed with [Patrick Flannigan’s] decision to resign as he was a valuable member of the leadership team,” a spokeswoman said. “We wish him all the best for the future”.
Further revelations are expected in coming days, with a number of reports suggesting that Kevin Brown favours handing over construction to a single major contractor: either Silcar, a joint venture between the giant Leightons group and Siemens, or Telstra.
NBN Co, meanwhile, has appointed Dan Flemming as acting head of construction.