CEO of Telia Allison Kirkby (pictured) will take over the top job at UK telco group BT from around January 2024, following the recently announced departure of current boss Philip Jansen.

Andrew Wooden

July 31, 2023

3 Min Read
allison kirkby

CEO of Telia Allison Kirkby (pictured) will take over the top job at UK telco group BT from around January 2024, following the recently announced departure of current boss Philip Jansen.

Kirkby has been President and CEO of Swedish telco Telia since early 2020, and has also been a Non-Executive Director at BT Group since 2019.

She moved into the sector in 2010 initially joining Virgin Media, and then became President and CEO of TDC (2018-2020), and Tele2 AB (2015-2018). Prior to telecoms, she held a number of financial and operational roles at Procter & Gamble and qualified as a Chartered Management Accountant in 1990 whilst at Guinness.

“I’m incredibly honoured to have been appointed as the next Chief Executive of BT Group,” said Kirkby. “BT is such an important company for the UK, and our many customers both in the UK and internationally and is uniquely placed to help everyone benefit from the rapid advances in digitalisation.

“Our products and services have never been more important to how our customers live and work, and thanks to the significant investment BT is putting into digital infrastructure and in the modernisation of its services, I see us playing an even more important role going forward. Having been a member of the BT Group Board for the past four years, I’m fully supportive of our strategy and am excited about leading it into its next phase of development, as we grow to support customers, shareholders and the UK economy.”

Current boss BT boss Philip Jansen will continue to serve as Chief Executive until the end of January 2024, at which point he will hand over the reigns. He will be around handing over until the end of March 2024, at which point we’re told he intends to retire from executive life.

In terms of the wedge she will be getting for the new job, it will consist of a salary of £1,100,000 per annum, a cash allowance in lieu of pension of 10% of salary and an on target annual bonus of 120% of salary (with a maximum of 200%) subject to performance.

Adam Crozier, BT Group Chairman said: “The Board is delighted to have appointed Allison as our new Chief Executive. She is a proven leader, with deep sector experience and a history of having transformed businesses. I look forward to supporting her as we drive our long-term strategy to transform BT Group, ensuring it delivers for all our stakeholders.

“Philip continues to lead the business very effectively as can be seen in the good progress shown at our most recent financial results. Given Allison is already on the Board, we are confident we will have an orderly leadership transition and handover of responsibilities.”

BT announced Jenson would be leaving the role earlier this month. We noted at the time that BT’s share price is at almost half the level of its 5-year peak – achieved not long after Jansen’s appointment – a situation which may have become grating to investors.

It’s not been smooth sailing for BT of late. Long running strikes were finally settled in November last year, followed by the announcement that it plans to shed more than 40% of staff in a transformation effort in May this year. The firm also attracted some fresh scrutiny by Ofcom with regards to Openreach’s position in the fibre market, seemingly at least partly prompted by an interview Jensen gave to the FT which ran with the headline ‘BT chief warns Openreach fibre push will ‘end in tears’ for rivals.’

However its most recent financials were reasonably positive – revenue at BT Consumer rose 3% on last year to £2.42 billion, BT Business grew sales by 3% to £2.03 billion, and Openreach clocked revenue of £1.53 billion, up 8% on last year.

They’ll be lots for Kirkby to get stuck into when she takes over, clearly, but presumably that hefty salary BT elucidated on in detail within the announcement will take the edge off.


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About the Author(s)

Andrew Wooden

Andrew joins on the back of an extensive career in tech journalism and content strategy.

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