BT Group has gone left field for its new CEO, poaching Philip Jansen from Worldpay.

‘Gavin Patterson clone’ was the common cheap shot, but in reality he looks closer to the real deal — i.e. what Patterson was meant to be, in terms of being the consummate modern CEO.

Like his new Chair, Jan du Plessis, Jansen has a history of packaging businesses for sale, and is also a (recent) telco outsider. They could prove a pair of hard-nuts, with Jansen’s formal statement immediately prioritising customers and technology over BT’s people. Interesting as an aside: Jansen is a current partner of du Plessis’ predecessor Mike Rake (now Worldpay Chair), so not entirely an unknown quantity.

Jansen is something of a conundrum, too, being properly rich already; so his drive and definition of success may ultimately be internalised.

With his £2m buy-in and equity bonuses, Jansen looks incentivised to be merciless with Global Services and costs, and opportunistic with M&A (such as spinning off Openreach?).

Officially taking over in February 2019, Jansen is perfectly timed to take credit for Patterson’s underway Hail Mary plan… or disown it.

In the balance, looking like a brave choice, and hopefully an inspired rather than desperate one. (And there may already be backup, with ex-O2 UK CEO Matthew Key confirmed to be joining the BT board with immediate effect.)

Full analysis in the next release of BTwatch

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