Chairman of BT will quit his £700,000-a-year role once a successor is found

The chairman of BT has announced his is planning to quit his £700,000-a-year role once a successor is found so that he can ‘focus on other interests’. 

Jan du Plessis, 67, who hired BT’s current boss, Philip Jansen, from Worldpay, said that after 17 years as a serial non-executive across numerous listed businesses, he wants to step back.

He will leave the prestigious £700,000-a-year role later this year, and a search for his successor is under way.

Former British multinational retailing company Kingfisher CEO Sir Ian Cheshire is a favourite to take over the role after he announced he was stepping down as a non-executive director at Barclay’s retail bank in December.

Jan du Plessis (right), 67, who hired BT's current boss, Philip Jansen, from Worldpay, said that after 17 years as a serial non-executive across numerous listed businesses, he wants to step back

Jan du Plessis (right), 67, who hired BT's current boss, Philip Jansen, from Worldpay, said that after 17 years as a serial non-executive across numerous listed businesses, he wants to step back

Jan du Plessis (right), 67, who hired BT’s current boss, Philip Jansen, from Worldpay, said that after 17 years as a serial non-executive across numerous listed businesses, he wants to step back

BT, which has 100,000 staff, will most likely be looking to hire someone with experience of running a large company. 

Prior to joining the BT board, Mr du Plessis had chaired British American Tobacco, Rio Tinto and SAB Miller and been on the boards of Marks & Spencer and Lloyds.

He was also finance chief of cigarette-maker Rothmans before it was bought by BAT in 1998.

During his time at BT, Mr du Plessis has helped the company establish better relations with Ofcom as decisions over the next phase of the UK’s fibre broadband rollout are made.

He will leave the prestigious £700,000-a-year role later this year, and a search for his successor is under way. Pictured: BT's current boss Philip Jansen

He will leave the prestigious £700,000-a-year role later this year, and a search for his successor is under way. Pictured: BT's current boss Philip Jansen

He will leave the prestigious £700,000-a-year role later this year, and a search for his successor is under way. Pictured: BT’s current boss Philip Jansen

BT is hoping to persuade the watchdog that a £12billion investment to offer super-fast broadband to 20 million homes is worth allowing it to make a return of between 10 per cent and 12 per cent on its investment.

A decision from Ofcom is due next month and Mr du Plessis’ work on soothing relations with the regulator is understood to have played a role in the tentative work.

The outgoing chairman said: ‘BT has made good progress over the last few years. We have a refreshed board and much-strengthened senior management team delivering on our strategy to transform the company.

‘We have made big strides in enhancing customer service and have really stepped up to support the country during the pandemic.

‘Above all, our relationship with Ofcom has improved significantly over the last three years and I strongly believe the board’s commitment to invest in a full fibre network is in the long-term interests of all BT’s stakeholders.’

BT’s senior non-executive director Iain Conn, a former Centrica boss, will start the search for his replacement.

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