BT Group announced Allison Kirkby (pictured) will take the reins as its next CEO by end-January 2024, joining from Sweden-based operator Telia where she has served as chief executive since 2020.

Kirkby was named to the job less than a month after current BT CEO Philip Jansen gave notice of his plan to depart within a year.

Murmurings of a change afoot began in March. At the time, BT stated it was well prepared for a succession process, perhaps explaining the rapid appointment.

The move means Telia is now looking for a new boss: it stated it will immediately initiate a search process.

Kirkby started her telecoms career in 2010 with Virgin Media before moving on to CEO positions at TDC in Denmark and Tele2 Group prior to joining Telia.

In 2019, she also became a non-executive director at BT and serves in the same role at Brookfield Asset Management.

Jansen took the helm at BT in February 2019.

He will leave the company by end-January 2024 at the latest, but will be available to support the handover for a further two months before intending to retire from executive life, BT added.

The new boss will take over at a time when BT is embarking on a significant cost cutting drive, with plans to reduce its 130,000 workforce by 40 per cent by 2030. The question of ownership of the UK operator will also be on the agenda, with French billionaire Patrick Drahi building up an almost 25 per cent stake during Jansen’s tenure.

On her appointment, Kirkby said she is excited at the prospect of leading BT “into the next phase of development” and is fully supportive of its strategy, citing her term on its board.

BT chair Adam Crozier also pointed to Kirkby’s time on the board, adding he is “confident we will have an orderly leadership transition and handover of responsibilities”.

In line with BT’s remuneration policy, Kirkby will be paid an annual salary of £1.1 million and a performance-linked bonus of 120 per cent of salary.