BT to find new CEO amid takeover rumours

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BT CEO Philip Jansen has revealed his plans to step down from his position, sparking rumours of a possible takeover bid for the telecommunications company.

BT stated that Jansen would depart at an “appropriate moment” within the next 12 months. 

The news comes as BT intensifies efforts with advisors Robert Warsaw and Goldman Sachs to strengthen its takeover defence strategy, amidst speculations of interest from Deutsche Telekom, which currently holds a 12 percent stake in BT due to its acquisition of EE in 2016.

During Jansen’s tenure, BT’s shares have plummeted by almost 50 percent which has left the company vulnerable to a potential bid.

Speculation has grown, fueled by comments from Deutsche Telekom’s CEO Tim Höttges, who hinted earlier this year that a deal could be on the horizon.

French-Israeli telecoms billionaire Patrick Drahi, who has acquired a 24.5 percent stake in BT, has been mentioned as a potential bidder. However, Drahi has ruled out a bid and reportedly supports the management team.

BT Chairman Adam Crozier reassured investors that the board is well-prepared for the CEO succession and expects to announce Jansen’s replacement during the summer.

Analysts suggest that a new chief executive could be confirmed within weeks, with both internal and external candidates under consideration. Marc Allera, the head of BT’s consumer division, is regarded as a frontrunner.

Crozier praised Jansen for his accomplishments at BT, including overseeing a £15 billion project to upgrade the company’s copper infrastructure to modern fibre-optic broadband. 

“Philip has done an excellent job in his time at BT and the Board is fully supportive of our long-term strategy which he and his team are pursuing. Whilst we are still in the early years of that transformation we are on track to deliver,” said Crozier.

“The succession process to replace Philip is something that the Board was well prepared for. All appropriate candidates are being considered and we expect to be able to update the market on progress over the course of the summer. In the meantime, it is business as usual, and we are focused on executing our plans and delivering for all our stakeholders.”

Following the announcement of Jansen’s departure, BT’s shares experienced a 1.3 percent decline in early trading on Monday. The uncertainty surrounding the CEO transition and the potential takeover bid has created a sense of caution among investors.

As BT navigates this transition period, the appointment of a new CEO will play a crucial role in shaping the company’s future direction and responding to the challenges in the highly competitive telecommunications industry.

“We’ve made a lot of progress over the last four and half years and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved to date. We’re investing heavily in both BT’s and the UK’s future. We’re building like fury, have now passed over 11m homes with fibre, have got 5G service to 68 percent of the country and our customer service is much improved,” commented Jansen.

“This is creating a much stronger BT Group which is starting to drive growth for both investors and the UK. But there’s a lot more to do and I am fully committed to driving the business forward until I hand over to my successor.”

Investors and industry observers will eagerly await updates on BT’s succession plans and how the company will address the potential takeover interest in the coming months.

(Image Credit: BT)

See also: Ofcom launches BT investigation after emergency calls disruption

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