New BT chief exec ‘laying the foundations for growth’ as firm announces rising profits

Alison Kirby, the new chief executive of telecoms giant BT, has said the firm is “laying the foundations for future growth” on her first day in the role.

Her comments come as the firm announces a better than expected quarterly performance, with a three per cent year-on-year rise in adjusted revenue, up to £5.34bn.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) also rose by one per cent to £2.02bn.

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Ms Kirby said: "BT Group has delivered another quarter of revenue and EBITDA growth, while rapidly building and upgrading customers to our full-fibre broadband and 5G networks, and we continue to be on track to achieve our financial outlook for the year.

Alison Kirby, chief executive of BT. Photo by Richard Davies.Alison Kirby, chief executive of BT. Photo by Richard Davies.
Alison Kirby, chief executive of BT. Photo by Richard Davies.

"We are providing great digital connectivity and services, while laying the foundations for future growth that will benefit our customers, investors and the UK.

“As I assume the role of chief executive, we remain committed to our purpose and our strategic focus, and I am looking forward to leading BT Group into its next phase of development."

Ms Kirby takes over the role from Phillip Jansen, and is the first female to hold the role in the firm’s history.

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Earlier this week, Sky News reported that Ms Kirby is set to be named as one of 15 new business advisers to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, along with Charlie Nunn, CEO of Lloyds Banking Group.

In an announcement to the London Stock Exchange, BT said that it expects to lose broadband customers this year.

Though its average revenue per user for Openreach Broadband grew by 10 per cent year-on-year due to price rises, the firm saw a two per cent decline in its customer numbers, equating to 369,000 users.

The firm added that it expects to see losses exceed 400,000 by the end of the 2024 financial year.

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Despite the losses, BT said its roll-out of broadband had accelerated to around 73,000 customers per week during the final quarter, delivering to a record 950,000 premises. The company has now connected more than 13m homes in total, with a further 6m in its pipeline.

In May of last year, BT announced that it would cut up to 55,000 jobs by the end of the 2020s. The figure reflects around 42 per cent of the company’s overall workforce.

The firm said up to a fifth of the cuts would be in customer service roles, where staff could potentially be replaced by technologies including AI.

Then chief executive Phillop Jansen said at the time: “By continuing to build and connect like fury, digitise the way we work and simplify our structure, by the end of the 2020s BT Group will rely on a much smaller workforce and a significantly reduced cost base.

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“New BT Group will be a leaner business with a brighter future."

Late in 2022, BT announced that it would merge its poorer performing Global and Enterprise units into a single Business division.

The firm said at the time that the formation of the BT Business is expected to deliver at least £100m of gross annualised savings by the end of 2025. It added that the formation would create a B2B focussed telecoms and technology business which generated pro-forma revenues of approximately £8.5bn in the 2022 financial year.

The new division posted adjusted revenues of £2.02bn for the most recent quarter, a four per cent drop on the same period last year. It also posted a 17 per cent drop in EBITDA to £403m.​​​​​​​

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