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Bonfield BT's exit expected sooner rather than later

BT shares take a hammering as mm02 fails to pull the punters...
Written by Aled Herbert, Contributor

BT shares take a hammering as mm02 fails to pull the punters...

BT chief executive Sir Peter Bonfield is expected to stand down early now the telco has completed its lengthy restructuring. Bonfield's contract as CEO runs until December 2002. However, sources close to the scene have told the Financial Times that he is expected to part company with the telco in the middle of 2002. The news follows the completion of the company's restructuring, the impending flotation of mm02 - formerly BT Wireless - and the dissolution of Concert, its loss-making venture with AT&T which is expected to be wrapped up next week. The termination of Concert is likely to result in AT&T taking over the joint venture's US customers and BT taking over its European operations. Both companies will also need to resolve BT's contractual obligation to buy part of AT&T Canada. Pierre Dannon, currently heading up BT's retail division, is one of the leading contenders to take over the reigns. Meanwhile, BT shares fell almost 10 per cent yesterday, plunging 34.75p to 340.25p after it announced that the growth of mm02's customer base has been lower than expected in the UK and Germany. UK division Cellnet increased its subscriber base by 78,000 in the last quarter, well below the take-up figures of its rivals. Vodafone and Orange grew their customer base by 251,000 and 320,000 over the same three-month period The company now has a user base of less than 11 million, compared to Vodafone's 12.5 million and Orange's 12.2 million.
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