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Best of British luck to the new BT chief
Written by silicon.com staff, Contributor

Best of British luck to the new BT chief

BT has finally found a man who wouldn't rather flip burgers than sit in the chief executive's seat. He's a 49-year-old Dutchman, and his name is Ben Verwaayen (pronounced 'ver-vain') - which no one in Britain had heard of before this morning and no one can confidently pronounce. So far, so good. As a former Lucent man, he'll know what it's like to work at a large company and watch it take a kicking. He has the Dutch state telco KPN on his CV too, so he should have some monopoly-defending skills to bring to the table. We say well done for appointing a complete outsider. Not that we're saying the inhouse candidates were incompetent or anything, but a breath of fresh Dutch air will do stuffy old BT a world of good. Being Dutch, Verwaayen will probably speak 12 European languages better than most Brits speak English. These skills will come in handy as BT will have to work increasingly closely with its European neighbours - and perhaps even be on the receiving end of a take over. He's also shown early promise at the old BT art of PR ju-jitsu: Turn a good story into a bad one, turn one bad story into three. His appointment was announced the day BT hired the Tate Modern to tell the press about its new internet phone booths. Lucky, then, that the announcement had been leaked days before. Otherwise it wouldn't have been covered at all. Best of all, unlike his chairman, he has a relatively pun-proof name. Few news outlets resisted a "Bland leading the blind" joke when Sir Christopher was appointed. silicon.com's verbal humour technicians are working hard on the chief exec's name, but thus far their efforts have been entirely in Verwaayen.
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