Next BT chairman commits to Britain's digital future - Mobile World Live

Next BT chairman commits to Britain’s digital future

09 MAR 2017

UK incumbent BT named Jan du Plessis (pictured) as its new chairman effective from November, succeeding the departing Mike Rake.

Du Plessis is currently the chairman of mining company Rio Tinto, and was named on the shortlist for the role last month. He will join BT’s board in June, before taking the reins later in the year.

Rake said in 2016 he would stand down following a ten year stint in the role. In a statement, he said du Plessis comes to BT at a good time.

“Over the past ten years, BT has made huge progress and we have transformed and expanded the business. While clearly there are continuing challenges, the performance of the company remains on track.”

One of the most immediate challenges facing du Plessis will be addressing the future of BT’s Openreach division, which remains uncertain following recent clashes with Ofcom.

The company has also been investing heavily in its content play with sports, but there is also pressure from many quarters to put capital into broadband networks in the UK, which are lagging behind other developed markets.

Nick Rose, BT’s senior independent director who led the search for a new chairman, said du Plessis was “the unanimous choice of the board”.

“Our desire was to find someone with deep experience of leading high profile organisations and who would also have the credibility with our key stakeholders,” he said.

Du Plessis said he looked forward to working with CEO Gavin Patterson “to help continue to support Britain’s digital future”.


Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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