The chief executive of BT, Philip Jansen, is to step down in the next 12 months.

The telecoms giant said it is already seeking a successor for Jansen, who has been in the role for the past four and a half years.

In May the telecoms giant, which employs around 130,000 people, unveiled plans to cut up to 55,000 jobs in a long-term plan which will see it embrace artificial intelligence.

Around the same time it reported £1.7 billion profit before tax in the last financial year, down 12%, with revenues falling 1% to £20.7bn.

“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,” said Jansen. 

“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% of the country and our customer service is much improved. 

“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.”

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Kester Mann, director, consumer and connectivity at market research firm CCS Insight, said Jansen “had been looking on increasingly shaky ground at BT”.

“The company’s shares have almost halved since he took over in early 2019, while recent inflammatory comments about the role of fibre altnets drew concern from Ofcom,” he said.

“The CEO has endured a rollercoaster ride at BT. He presided over the operator’s impressive response to the pandemic; embarked on a massive cost-saving drive; oversaw a major acceleration in the deployment of full fibre; witnessed Patrick Drahi take a near-25% stake in the company; and watched thousands of staff strike over pay.

“Confirmation of the new CEO is expected within weeks and while many names will inevitably be linked to the role, there appears no obvious initial candidate to take it on. BT will likely cast its net wide, both internally, elsewhere within the telco sector, and potentially in a different industry altogether.”

In May BT claimed its existing cost transformation was “on track” with gross annualised cost savings of £2.1bn since April 2020 against a £3bn target.

The firm’s target is to reach 25 million premises with full fibre by the end of 2026.

Adam Crozier, BT Group chairman, said: “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.

“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.”

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