Who is BT’s first female CEO Allison Kirkby?

New BT Group CEO Allison Kirkby has been President & CEO of Telia Company since early 2020 and has been on the BT Group board since 2019

Following the departure of outgoing CEO Philip Jansen at the start of July, board member Allison Kirkby has been appointed BT Group’s first female CEO.

It is expected that Kirkby will leave her current job as CEO of Swedish telecoms company Telia at the end of January 2024 for her new position at the group, which also owns the EE network.

Her salary of £1.1m (US$1.4m) is the same as that of Jansen, but is expected to grow exponentially under a bonus and share award scheme.

Back in May, predecessor Jansen announced plans to axe up to 55,000 jobs at the group by 2030 in favour of a leaner business model and utilising AI tools.

Kirkby has been a non-executive director at BT since 2019.

Kirkby’s appointment takes the number of female CEOs at the helm of FTSE 100 companies to 10, after Alison Rose was required to resign from the NatWest Group last week following a “serious error of judgement” in breaking confidentiality rules in relation to the closure of Nigel Farage’s account. Other female executives include Vodafone’s Margherita Della Valle and Liv Garfield, former CEO at Openreach and now of water company Severn Trent.

On her appointment, Kirkby said: “I’m fully supportive of our strategy and am excited about leading it into its next phase of development, as we grow to support customers, shareholders and the UK economy.”

Where else has new BT Group CEO Allison Kirkby worked?

Described as “a proven leader, with deep sector experience and a history of having transformed businesses,” by BT Group Chairman Adam Crozier, Kirkby has served on the BT Group’s board since 2019.

She will stand back from her role as CEO at Swedish telecoms company Telia Company to take on her new position. Telia has initiated a search process for a new CEO to take over from Kirkby when she leaves at the end of January 2024 at the latest. She has served as President and CEO at Telia - the market leading digital communications and telecommunications provider across the Nordic and Baltic region - since joining in May 2020.

She started her TMT career in 2010 by joining Virgin Media following 11 years at Procter & Gamble and has since been President and CEO of Denmark’s largest telecommunications company TDC between 2018 and 2020 as well as President and CEO of Tele2, the largest challenger telecommunications company in Sweden and the Baltics, from 2015 to 2018.

Her other roles have included six-and-a-half years as Non Executive Director & Chair of Audit Committee at bakery giant Greggs and Non Executive Director at Brookfield Asset Management.

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