BT pins shift on first female CEO Kirkby

BT pins shift on first female CEO Kirkby

Allison Kirkby - TDC Group (2).jpg

BT has appointed Allison Kirkby as its new CEO, taking over from Philip Jansen around the end of January 2024 at the latest.

Kirkby has been president and CEO of Telia Company since early 2020. The Swedish firm is the leading digital communications and telecoms provider to 25 million customers across the Nordic and Baltic regions.

She shed staff, streamlined operations and divested assets at Telia – a strategy BT will seemingly replicate as it looks to cut 55,000 jobs by 2030.

"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," she said on Monday.

“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.”

Kirkby moved into the TMT sector in 2010, initially joining Virgin Media and was most recently president and CEO of TDV, Denmark’s largest telco from 2018-2020.

She also held the role of president and CEO of Tele2 AB from 2015-2018, the largest challenger telco in Sweden and the Baltics.

As well as that, Kirkby took a non-executive director board seat at BT in March 2019 and is a member of the audit & risk as well as the BT compliance and nominations committees.

Paolo Pescatore, TMT analyst at PP Foresight describes the announcement as “a shock appointment and one that seems to be out of the blue”.

While it may be seen as a shock to some, Capacity ranked Kirkby as the second-most likely candidate to get the job behind Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s consumer division.

“Her credentials speak for themselves, already working closely with the BT Board and familiar with the company’s direction of travel,” Pescatore added.

“This suggests the strategy is unlikely to change with Kirkby set to continue with Jansen’s transformational program.”

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