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BT lines up new CEO as Livingston departs for ministerial job

Ian Livingston is leaving BT after five years at the top, and will be succeeded by the current head of its retail arm.
Written by Jo Best, Contributor on

BT is getting a new boss: current head honcho Ian Livingston is stepping down later this year to take up a new role as a minister.

From this December, Livingston — who has headed up BT since 2008 — will become minister of state for trade and investment.

"While it has been an immensely difficult decision to step down from my role at BT, it is a huge honour to be asked by the Prime Minister to take on this role," Livingston said in a statement.

In his new role, Livingston will be charged with "growing the UK’s exports and attracting further investment from overseas", according to the government.

Under his stewardship, BT has massively increased its broadband subscriptions, which now stand at 17.6 million, a figure more than four times higher than at the end of the 2008/09 financial year. The company also began rolling out its superfast broadband under Livingston, and it 2008 it promised to spend £1.5bn to take fibre connectivity to 15 million homes by 2012. The rollout, now with a price tag of £2.5bn, covers those 15 million premises and should reach 19 million by next year. BT now has 1.5 million fibre users, according to the company.

However, over the last five years, competition has remained fierce for BT, with both Sky and Virgin making inroads on its broadband turf. Revenues have remained flat too: the last set of BT financials showed turnover of £18.3bn, compared to £21.4bn for the 2008/09 year.

Ahead of taking up the ministerial mantle, Livingston will leave BT in September, and will be succeeded by Gavin Pattinson, the current CEO of BT's retail arm.

Pattinson joined the telco in 2004 as managing director of its consumer division, before moving to become the CEO of its retail arm and board member.

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