An intense first year at the board table

By Nicola Green, Corporate Affairs Director, O2

For me, June marked one year in my role as Corporate Affairs Director and a member of the O2 UK Executive Committee.

When I accepted the progression from Head of Corporate Affairs I knew I’d be in for an exciting, stretching and rewarding ride, and I wasn’t wrong. These last twelve months have been the most unpredictable of my career and have pushed me beyond my expectations.

Never more so was this true than when the country faced the initial outbreak of COVID-19. As an employer of 6,700 people and a service provider to 34.8 million customers – not to mention our role to connect the emergency services and government – the business responsibility weighed heavily. Exec decisions have ranged from network investment, financial relief for struggling customers, making workplaces secure, revenue impact, long-term implications and additional support for the NHS (which resulted in free services and The O2 being used as a training facility).

The crisis has allowed me to contribute to the decisions we take to keep the country connected and I have led a strategic initiative to refocus our efforts to ‘Rebuild Britain’ in the wake of the pandemic. This approach is currently in its infancy, but I am committed to ensure our business works together to contribute whatever we can to the recovery and future health of the UK.

As well as facing issues there have also been many highlights in my first year. One of those was becoming Chair of our Responsible Business Taskforce. This has given me the opportunity to shape our Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability plan and has made me more appreciative of the work we do to support our communities, customers, our stakeholders and, of course, our environment.

To be given the opportunity to put responsibility and sustainability at the heart of our culture and organisation has been very inspiring and I am proud to be leading a part of the business that is so important to so many people. I am excited by the work we have begun, aiming to rebuild Britain responsibly and sustainably. Watch this space.

Of course, in recapping my year, I can’t possibly omit the historic proposed deal to combine O2 and Virgin Media to create the UK’s connectivity champion. We announced this in May during an unprecedented period in history and I am pleased that our optimism has been shared by the majority. I will be kept busy in the coming months as approvals are sought as we work on integration preparation and I will be keeping customers and employees front of mind in everything I do and every conversation I have.

My passion has always centred around communication and it is a privilege that this vital function is recognised in the strategic decisions we make in our organisation. It has always served me well and will always be something I will champion in my work.

I’m incredibly grateful for all the support, advice and encouragement I’ve received from many people over the past year. My job is only made possible thanks to my leaders, peers, team and advisors. There is still lots for me to experience and learn and that is what keeps me motivated. So, despite the uncertainty we are currently living through, I’m certainly looking forward to what the next year has in store.