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Who should take over as CEO of BT?

Business woman with question mark looking for answers

Gavin Patterson is on the way to the exit with what we can only assume is a healthy severance package, but now the question remains as to who should take over at the top of BT.

Some of the names being bounded around are as you would expect. Marc Allera has been rising quickly through the ranks as EE staff infiltrate the BT machine, current CFO Simon Lowth would be a safe bet for the board or maybe Nick Jeffrey could keep the metrosexual image of BT alive. But for us there are only a few names which can put BT back on the straight and narrow.

The next CEO at BT needs to have more of a technical or operational background. The next CEO needs to address the inadequacies of the business, namely improving the network and addressing its awful reputation for customer service. The next CEO needs to ignore the bells and whistles, instead focusing on what should be BT’s core mission of delivering a better connected experience. This is a message which seems to have been forgotten in recent years.

When looking at the frontrunners, Light Reading’s Iain Morris summed them up quite successfully here, anyone who comes from a marketing background should be discounted, look at the damage Patterson did to the business, as should financial, penny pinching will not help the situation. There are two names we would like to focus on and one which isn’t really being discussed at the moment; Clive Selly and Stephen Carter, plus Sharon White.

Selly, the current CEO of Openreach, is from the technology side of the business and slightly removed from the toxic fallout that is Patterson. Carter, current Informa CEO, has a wealth of experience in the telecoms business having worked for Ofcom, Alcatel Lucent and NTL in years gone, and has experience of running a FTSE100 business. White, current Ofcom CEO, would certainly help the telco smooth over a bumpy relationship with the regulator, and is a rare example of a female executive in the industry.

All three of these names are ones which could get BT back on track, focusing on delivering an excellent customer experience. It’s no surprise that the telcos focusing on content are struggling, while the likes of T-Mobile in the US and Orange in Europe are streaming into the digital economy with a focus on network investments. BT needs to look at these two companies and refocus on what should be at the heart of the organization; customer experience.


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