Verizon's Dunne linked with BT CEO role

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Former Telefonica UK CEO Ronan Dunne is the latest name to be linked to the BT hotseat, with reports claiming Dunne has already held discussions with the UK incumbent.

Dunne is currently at Verizon heading up its mobile division but, according to the Telegraph, he was recently in the UK to speak to BT about becoming its next CEO. Capacity contacted Dunne about the role but has yet to receive a reply.

The Irishman left O2 after more than a decade at the UK mobile operation after a deal to merge it with CK Hutchison’s Three UK fell through due to a lack of regulatory support. He then joined Verizon as president of wirless but has seen former Ericsson chief Hans Vestberg rise to the CEO role at the American telco.

Who will replace Gavin Patterson as BT chief following his decision to leave – announced earlier this year – has been the subject of much speculation. Dunne was one of the names mentioned by industry sources to Capacity a few month ago – along with the likes of former EE chief Olaf Swantee (currently at Sunrise), Tele2 chief Allison Kirkby, and current EE chief – and head of BT’s consumer division – Marc Allera.

A number of linked names have already been ruled out. Informa boss Stephen Carter, who once led regulator Ofcom, has reportedly distanced himself from the role. Former VEON chief Jean Yves Charlier was another name mentioned by industry sources, but he was recently named as a board member at Digicel.

The hunt for a new CEO comes after shareholders expressed concern with a slump in BT’s share price, driven by a combination of factors including controversy at the company’s Global Services arm in Italy.

The search is being led by chairman Jan du Pleiss, himself is a relative newcomer at BT, who has reportedly hired London headhunter Anna Mann to seek a replacement for Patterson.