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Tuesday 12 January 2021

BT restructures to accelerate digital adoption

BTBT has announced the creation of a new Digital business unit to help drive its transformation and deliver further technology innovation to the company and its clients. Coupled with the move, BT’s Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, Mike Sherman will be leaving the company after nearly three years in the role.

Going forward, product strategy, business transformation, data and AI, will fall under the auspices of the new Digital unit, whilst responsibility for corporate strategy will move to BT’s CFO, Simon Lowth. BT has recruited Harmeen Mehta to lead the Digital unit, in the newly created role of Chief Digital and Innovation Officer. Mehta will be accountable for IT, digital innovation, BT-wide business transformation and data and product strategy. BT has simultaneously appointed Howard Watson as CTO for network strategy, networks transformation and service platforms, in addition to his current responsibility for cyber security. 

BT’s new recruit is currently Group CIO of Indian telecoms provider, Bharta Airtel, and will join the company on 1 April 2021, reporting to Group CEO, Philip Jansen. Mehta has been responsible for Airtel’s cloud and security operations and has more than 20 years' experience in IT engineering. Prior to moving into the telecoms sector she held senior roles with BBVA, HSBC and Bank of America Merrill Lynch

BT also announced the creation of a non-executive Technology Advisory Board "TAB" to provide insight, provocation and external perspective to the Executive Committee on emerging technologies, market and societal trends. The TAB will meet 3 times a year and bring together industry experts to provide thought leadership on the development of propositions and to identify potential portfolio opportunities for consideration.

In May, BT announced the next phase of its transformation (see: BT steps up the pace of transformation), a £1.3bn, 5-year initiative designed to modernise the business and its technology, whilst delivering annualised savings of £2bn by March 2025. This latest move is no doubt fuelled by lockdown and will hopefully help drive the digital agenda within the organisation and accelerate its ambition of becoming a modern technology company. With BT now well into its multi-year transformation it might be fair to suggest that the creation of a dedicated digital unit, whilst welcome, is perhaps a little overdue.

Posted by: Jon C Davies

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