BT CEO Kirkby kickstarts strategy rethink

  • BT CEO Allison Kirkby has been in the role since the start of February
  • Now she’s ready to shake things up
  • She has created a new strategy and change unit
  • Tom Meakin, a senior partner at McKinsey & Company, has been drafted in to help set up the new unit and get it started

BT Group has appointed a McKinsey & Company senior partner to lead a new strategy and change unit, in what appears to be the first clear sign that new CEO Allison Kirkby is looking to shake up the telco’s trajectory and leadership.

The company is in the process of creating a Strategy and Change division, which will be temporarily headed by Tom Meakin, leader of McKinsey & Company’s Consumer Technology and Media Practice. News of the appointment was first reported by the Financial Times

Meakin will be in charge until “we stand up the full unit and look for a permanent appointee”, a BT Group representative told TelecomTV.

The new role will sit within the executive committee and report directly to Kirkby, who joined as CEO on 1 February from Swedish telco Telia to lead BT “into its next phase of development”. 

The FT cited an internal memo by Kirkby that explains the new unit will “drive the refresh of BT Group’s corporate strategy” and defines “the next phase of our transformation”.

The new business unit will combine BT’s corporate strategy and development team with its team on transformation and assurance, according to the report.

While BT did not provide specific timeframes for the establishment of the new unit and the appointment of a permanent head, it is a clear sign that Kirkby is ready to shake things up at BT and engineer a turnaround for a company, which needs to improve its financial performance, light a fire under its share price and take advantage of the significant investments made in recent years (and which are ongoing) in fibre access networks and 5G. 

BT’s share price has declined by almost 14% since the start of 2024: It currently stands at 108 pence on the London Stock Exchange. 

- Yanitsa Boyadzhieva, Deputy Editor, TelecomTV

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