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BT confirms Philip Jansen as new CEO

BT has confirmed Worldpay joint-CEO Philip Jansen will become its new chief executive next year, ending the search for a successor to current boss Gavin Patterson.

Jansen had been strongly linked to the role, with reports in recent days suggesting it was his to turn down. He was already due to step down at Worldpay the end of the year after five years of service, having overseen an IPO and merger with US firm Vantiv.

Several telecoms executives, including former EE CEO Olaf Swantee and ex-Openreach head Liv Garfield, had been touted as candidates but BT Chairman Jan du Plessis was keen to appoint another outsider to one of the most high-profile jobs in the country.

Philip Jansen BT CEO

“[Jansen] is a proven leader with outstanding experience in managing large complex businesses,” declared du Plessis. “Philip’s strong leadership has inspired his teams, successfully transformed businesses across multiple industries and created significant value for shareholders. His most recent success at Worldpay, a technology-led business, means he is well suited to build on the solid foundations that are in place at BT.”

Jansen will have a busy in-tray when he assumes control. Among other things he 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.

It is thought the financial package was less important to Jansen than the freedom he wants at the helm, but he will be well-remunerated.

Next steps

His basic salary will be £1.1 million a year, with an annual bonus of up to 240 per cent, share options and a compensation package for the Worldpay share options he will be required to forfeit by joining BT.

“I’m honoured to be appointed as the next Chief Executive of BT Group,” he said. “BT is a special company with a wonderful history and a very exciting future. It has built a leading position across fixed and mobile networks, creating an opportunity to deliver increasing benefits for our customers, the UK economy and our shareholders.

“In a competitive market we will need to be absolutely focused on our customers’ needs and pursue the right technology investments to help grow the business. I’m excited to get to know all the people at BT and work together to take the business forward.”

Jansen will formally join BT on January 1, working with Patterson during a handover period, before assuming full control on February 1. The two men should have no problem working together as they have done so before at Proctor & Gamble and at cable operator Telewest (which merged with NTL to form Virgin Media in 2007).