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Job Alert! BT Needs a New CTO

Ray Le Maistre

One of the most challenging, interesting and exciting jobs in the global comms industry just got advertised -- the chief technology role at BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA).

That's because the current holder of that role, Clive Selley, has taken on a new challenge -- he is going to be the CEO of BT's access network division, Openreach . (See BT Names Clive Selley as New Openreach CEO.)

So as Selley clears his desk and unscrews his nameplate to shift it over to another executive office within the BT empire (a move that will happen this quarter), the operator is now searching for a new technology chief.

The actual job title in question is CEO of BT Technology, Service and Operations (TSO) but, as Selley explained to Light Reading during a video interview at BT's headquarters in 2011 (see below), the role involves being the lead executive responsible for all network and service provider IT capabilities:

Since then, of course, we have witnessed the emergence of virtualization, the growing importance of cloud capabilities in the telecom world, a massive ramp in video traffic and a new era of network security challenges, so the job covers an ever broader range of New IP technology these days. That's likely one of the reasons why BT recently hired a new group CIO, Rachel Higham, from Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD), where she had been Head of Cloud & Infrastructure Centre of Excellence with responsibility for the successful delivery of IT architecture (including data centers) across Vodafone Group.

So who might take Selley's place? There are potential candidates within the current TSO team, such as Tim Whitley, managing director of Research & Innovation at BT TSO, or Howard Watson, managing director and chief architect, Architecture & Global IT Platforms. Higham might be too new at BT to get an immediate promotion -- she only joined in December.

Of course, the operator will be looking at all options and may decide it's time to bring in someone with more IT than networks experience or even recruit from the vendor community, which is what Vodafone did when it appointed Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) executive Johan Wibergh to be its CTO. (See Ericsson's Wibergh to Replace Pusey as Vodafone CTO.)

BT's recruitment team may also be peering over at Vodafone's headquarters for potential candidates, particularly Matt Beal: He is Vodafone's current director of innovation and architecture but has BT history -- he held various senior technology management roles from 2003 to 2008 -- as well as boasting international experience (most recently at CenturyLink) and mobile network experience, something that will be key to the CEO role at TSO from now on. (See Vodafone Steals CenturyLink's CTO .)

This industry is about technology, money and people and Selley's replacement will need to be able to manage all three. I'm looking forward to seeing who gets the job.

Who do you think would be a prime candidate to replace Selley? Share your thoughts on the message board below.

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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1/30/2016 | 6:34:29 AM
Good to find this post
It seems like  good opportunity which is hiring for the CEo, and service and operations position in BT technology. Many would be there having to get over such a good position. This opportunity would be most watched by many and would work hard to be at such best position. Many would be in need of professional resume help to come up with the best and professional kind of resume. It was really an informative and motivating news here. Good to know about it.
1/24/2016 | 6:31:54 PM
Re: BT Strategy
It will be interesting to see how BT handles this search. Getting the right person for "technology, money and people" tasks will not be easy. I wonder how much politics or ability handle governmental issues will play a factor in this top job as well.
[email protected]
1/11/2016 | 1:24:03 PM
I am sure he will be happy to read that endorsement!! I think he would also relish the task in hand... 
1/11/2016 | 1:00:17 PM
Matt Beal would be a fantastic (solid) choice.
1/11/2016 | 11:09:14 AM
Re: BT Strategy
There are specialized recruiting firms that the company will likely draw on to fill a position of that type. It's not the type of job one usually finds on Dice.
Gabriel Brown
Gabriel Brown
1/11/2016 | 8:57:35 AM
BT Strategy
Not answering your question, but there's a good article in the FT (subscription) based on an interview with BT chairman Sir Mike Rake.

It touches on:
  • Openreach separation (he's not in favor);
  • TV and content (doesn't rule out Channel 4 acqusition); and
  • Potential partnerships with Deutsche Telekom

BT will consider joint ventures with Deutsche Telekom

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