BT staff await changes

STAFF at Telecoms giant BT – including those at Martlesham and elsewhere in Suffolk – were waiting to hear details of boss Ben Verwaayen's eagerly awaited strategy review being unveiled later today.

STAFF at Telecoms giant BT – including those at Martlesham and elsewhere in Suffolk – were waiting to hear details of boss Ben Verwaayen's eagerly awaited strategy review being unveiled later today.

Mr Verwaayen's plans for the future direction of the group is expected to focus on customer service, cost control and driving revenue.

While no major job cuts are likely, the chief executive will press for BT to adopt a new culture.

A company spokesman told The Evening Star: "I don't think it is likely to have too much affect on BT at Martlesham."


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Mr Verwaayen has already slashed the size of BT's executive committee from 16 to five in an attempt to recharge the business.

He detailed the decision in the latest issue of BT's in-house newspaper, and said: "We need to alter radically the way we take decisions."

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Analysts say Mr Verwaayen's plans will see BT rein in its global ambitions with little prospect of a major acquisition on the horizon.

Speculation the group could move into broadcasting by transmitting programmes to its residential customers is also likely to be wide of the mark.

Instead, Mr Verwaayen, who took up his post on February 1, will concentrate on improving financial discipline and customer service.

Most attention will be given to BT's business services arm BT Ignite in a bid to help the operation, which serves corporate clients, break even next year.

BT suffered major upheaval last year as it counted the cost of its overseas expansion and was rocked by the global economic slowdown.

It was forced to launch a £5.9 billion rights issue, sell its Yellow Pages arm and a swathe of international interests to tackle debts of £28 billion.

The group also floated off its mobile phone division, since renamed mmO2, on the stock market to concentrate on its core business.

Mr Verwaayen, who joined from US firm Lucent, has already moved to cut the cost of high-speed Internet access since taking over the hot seat.

The group this month introduced cuts in the amount service providers are charged to use its broadband network.

Further initiatives to roll-out broadband, 10 times faster than traditional dial-up connections, may also be unveiled.

A return to mobile phone market, through a tie-up with mmO2, is expected to be announced by BT's retail division on Wednesday.

BT now has four main divisions – retail, which sells services to UK homes, BT Ignite, Internet division BT Openworld and wholesale, which runs the network.

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