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BT Group Chairman Jan du Plessis Reveals Intention to Retire

Monday, March 1st, 2021 (11:48 am) - Score 936

The Chairman of BT Group since November 2017, Jan du Plessis (aged 67), has today formally announced his intention to retire from the UK role – thought to be worth £700,000-a-year – just as soon as a successor can be appointed. The company’s Board has now begun the process of hunting for his replacement.

Jan du Plessis has been a key figure within the group and helped to oversee the many changes that flowed from Ofcom’s 2016 Strategic Review of Digital Communications (full summary), which among other things forced the operator’s network access division (Openreach) to become a distinct “legally separate” company with its own board.

Since then, the BT Group has also committed to invest £12bn in order for Openreach to roll out a gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network to cover 20 million UK premises by around 2025-30 (currently at 4 million premises passed).

Jan du Plessis, BT Group Chairman, said:

“BT has made good progress over the last few years. We have a refreshed Board and much-strengthened senior management team delivering on our strategy to transform the Company. We have made big strides in enhancing customer service and have really stepped up to support the country during the pandemic.

Above all, our relationship with Ofcom has improved significantly over the last three years and I strongly believe the Board’s commitment to invest in a full fibre network is in the long-term interests of all BT’s stakeholders.”

Philip Jansen, BT Group CEO, said:

“I’d like to personally thank Jan for both his service to BT but also his commitment and support to me since I joined. His wise counsel, in particular over the last year as we have led the company through the pandemic has been hugely appreciated.

Jan’s focus on improving customer experiences, investing for the long-term and motivating our colleagues has been consistent throughout his time at BT and with his strong support we now have a clear strategy to deliver in the years ahead.”

The outgoing Chairman added that, “after 17 years of demanding roles as Chairman of significant FTSE companies, I know the time is now right for me to step down and focus on other interests.” Meanwhile, Ofcom are imminently due to announce the final outcome of their Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review 2021-26 (FTMR), which aims to help boost investment in “full fibre” infrastructure, including Openreach’s deployment.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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5 Responses
  1. A_Builder says:

    Shame he is going.

    He is a tough operator and made some bold calls most of which look right even in the rear view mirror of history.

    I’d go as far as saying that he saved BT and with that the pensioners.

    If reports on FTTP uptake hitting 40% in some mature areas are true, the abandoning of GFast and copper all look very credible. And that only came about because Jan forced a CEO change.

    I hope he has a well deserved retirement.

  2. Telecom guy says:

    He truly revolutionised BT. Transforming the shareprice to 1/3rd of his inherited value, driving the first strikes in decades – completely needlessly, and started the sell off of essential operations.

    You always have to admire millionaire managers, using the cover of a pandemic to attack key workers who generate billions of pounds for the firm.

    What a hero.

    1. Anti-moaner says:

      Spoken like a true keyboard warrior.

    2. A_Builder says:

      Or in the alternative view: things needed a good shakeup?

      Could things realistically have carried on as they were: no.

      Did investment in FTTP start too late: yes.

      Does the money to invest in FTTP have to come from somewhere: yes.

      If BT did not invest rapidly in FTTP, given the Alt Nets build speed and deep funding, would BT die quite fast: yes.

      Would the bulk of the workforce be out of a job if BT went down: yes.

      Unfortunately, in order to make omelettes, you need to break eggs.

      The share price will recover once FTTP uptake numbers are released. Everyone likes a bet that has worked out where there is a good assured income stream.

    3. GNewton says:

      “would BT die quite fast: yes.”

      Would BT fading away be so bad? No

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