CEO leaving

Jansen quits ‘creaking juggernaut’ BT amid bid talk

Philip Jansen
Philip Jansen: leaves after just four years

BT chief executive Philip Jansen has informed the board that at an “appropriate moment” over the next 12 months he intends to step down from his role.

His announcement was made amid speculation that Deutsche Telekom could increase its stake, or mount a takeover for BT.

Adam Crozier, group chairman, said: “Philip has done an excellent job in his time at BT and the board is fully supportive of our long-term strategy which he and his team are pursuing. Whilst we are still in the early years of that transformation we are on track to deliver.

The succession process is already under way and the market will be updated later in the summer.

Mr Jansen said: “We’ve made a lot of progress over the last four and half years and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved to date.

“We’re investing heavily in both BT’s and the UK’s future. We’re building like fury, have now passed over 11m homes with fibre, have got 5G service to 68% of the country and our customer service is much improved.

“This is creating a much stronger BT Group which is starting to drive growth for both investors and the UK. But there’s a lot more to do and I am fully committed to driving the business forward until I hand over to my successor.”

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell says: “Philip Jansen had a massive list of problems to fix the second he walked in the door as the new boss of BT in February 2019.

“His decisions were logical: cut more of the fat from the business, sharpen the focus on providing faster broadband to households across the country and find alternatives for non-core operations such as putting the sports broadcasting arm into a joint venture.

“Sadly, Jansen is not going to be remembered for being the person who breathed life back into BT.

“It’s still the slow, creaking juggernaut today that it was before he joined. Earnings are forecast to go into reverse this financial year and show minimal progress over the following two years.

“Shareholders have suffered big time: more than £10 billion has been wiped off the value of the business under Jansen’s leadership, and BT is now nearly one-quarter owned by a French billionaire who has taken advantage of the weak share price to build a strategic stake.

“To resign a mere four years into running one of Britain’s best-known companies would suggest Jansen has had enough of the challenges that come with BT. There is speculation he had already been offered a CEO job by a US tech firm and that he might want to return to running Worldpay.

“Most CEOs want to grow the company they are leading, but reviving BT has to be one of the least glamorous jobs going. Jansen might feel his skills are better utilised with a more innovative business.”

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