Worldpay chief is 'preferred' BT CEO target

The outgoing joint-CEO of WorldPay is BT’s “preferred target” to replace Gavin Patterson as its own chief executive, it has been reported.

Sky News says the BT top job is Philip Jansen’s to turn down, with BT Chairman Jan du Plessis hoping an outsider to the telco industry will provide the UK’s largest broadband and mobile provider with a fresh perspective as it negotiates myriad challenges.

Jansen worked with Patterson at Proctor & Gamble and at cable operator Telewest (which merged with NTL to form Virgin Media in 2007), while former BT Chairman Sir Mike Rake is Worldpay’s top independent director.


 Worldpay has already confirmed Jansen will depart the company at the end of the year, but one potential stumbling block could be the lucrative share options that Jansen would likely have to forfeit should he join BT. However, it is also thought that the financial package is less important than the freedom Jansen would want at the helm.

BT declined to comment on the reports.

Should Jansen turn BT down, then former EE CEO Olaf Swantee, who is now the head of Swiss mobile operator Sunrise, and head of Belgian telco group Proximus could be the next leading candidates. Former Openreach CEO Liv Garfield and current BT Consumer CEO Marc Allera have also been previously touted.

Whoever succeeds Patterson will have to manage 13,000 job cuts, manage the company’s occasionally fractious relationship with regulator Ofcom, and determine the future direction of Openreach.

They will also have to oversee structural changes within the company as it focuses on mobile and convergence, with a shift to full fibre infrastructure and 5G mobile networks on the horizon.

BT has been grappling with falling business revenues, an accounting scandal in BT Global Services’ Italian division and a pension deficit in recent years, but its consumer divisions and EE have continued to perform. 

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.