Gavin Patterson’s replacement as head of BT has been named as Philip Jansen, who is tasked with steering the former UK incumbent through some stiff challenges ahead.

Jansen has been a board member of BT since January this year, and he will take over from Gavin Patterson as chief executive on 1 February 2019, when Patterson steps down in January 2019.

Patterson has been in charge at BT since 2013, when he took over the carrier from previous chief executive, Ian Livingston.

New blood

Patterson is understood to have lost the support of BT’s board of directors earlier this year, amid a number of challenges at the firm.

These challenges include its struggling its Global Services division, an accounting scandal in its Italian division last year that cost it £500m, a huge pension deficit, and an extremely tough regulatory environment.

In an effort to cut costs, Patterson announced 13,000 job cuts (12 percent of its workforce) in May, mainly from back office and middle management, and would move out of its central London HQ.

But the board feels that new blood is needed to take the firm forward.

Jansen will be paid 1.1 million pounds a year along with a cash allowance in lieu of pension of 15 percent of salary and an annual bonus of up to 240 percent of salary subject to performance.

Besides being the co-CEO at Worldpay, 51 year old Jansen previously been CEO and then Chairman of Brakes Group and has held a variety of senior roles in Sodexo Group. Jansen was also COO of MyTravel PLC and MD of Telewest Communications PLC’s Consumer Division. He started his career with Procter and Gamble.

“The Board is delighted to have appointed Philip as our new Chief Executive,” said Jan du Plessis, Chairman of BT Group. “He is a proven leader with outstanding experience in managing large complex businesses. 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.”

“I’m honoured to be appointed as the next Chief Executive of BT Group,” said Jansen. “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.”

Telecoms experience

“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,” he added. “I’m excited to get to know all the people at BT and work together to take the business forward.”

Jansen however has little experience of the telecom’s market, and will need to get up to speed quickly to tackle a number of issues.

Earlier this year Ofcom said it had decided not to introduce a proposed competitive measure that would have given telecoms companies restricted access to unused portions of BT’s Openreach fibre-optic network.

It said there was “low demand” for such an option.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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