Eurobites: BT drafts in McKinsey man to head up new 'strategy and change' unit

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: ETNO, GSMA welcome single market study; Nokia targets Industry 4.0 with MX Grid; towers action in Saudi Arabia.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

April 22, 2024

3 Min Read
BT signage
(Source: BT)
  • BT has drafted in a senior partner from McKinsey, the management consultancy, to temporarily head up a new strategy and change unit until a permanent boss is found, according to the Financial Times (paywall applies), which has seen an internal memo confirming the move. Tom Meakin will be on secondment from his job as global co-leader of McKinsey's consumer technology and media practice, the report added. In the memo, BT CEO Allison Kirkby said the new unit would "drive a refresh" of BT's corporate strategy as well as defining the next chapter of the operator's "transformation."

  • ETNO and the GSMA, the industry associations representing Europe's main telcos, have welcomed a new report from former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta that makes the case for an invigorated European single market, particularly the bit where it says: "A healthy and secure electronic communication sector is crucial for the green transition, innovation, and resilience of the Union, especially in terms of cybersecurity. Unsteady economic sustainability of operators may worsen future consumer welfare by way of lower quality services, as well as security, and uneven distribution of network access, as well as it hinders digitalization of industries and services, leading to lower growth and competitiveness for the whole Europe and for each domestic market." Letta was commissioned by European leaders to assess the state of the EU's single market.

  • Nokia is targeting the Industry 4.0 market with the introduction of MX Grid, an offering it describes as the "world's first on-premise, hyper interconnected and distributed AI/ML solution that enables organizations to improve OT [operational technology] responsiveness and decision making by processing and analyzing data closest to the source." According to Nokia, MX Grid enables a more effective implementation of a range of industrial applications, including predictive maintenance, security and surveillance, worker safety, tracking and positioning, and quality assurance.

  • Investment firm KKR has notified the European Commission's Directorate General for Competition about its planned acquisition of Telecom Italia's fixed-line network, otherwise known as the NetCo deal. In a short statement, Telecom Italia said that this notification "confirms that the disposal is proceeding according to the scheduled timetable."

  • Saudi operator STC has signed an agreement with the kingdom's Public Investment Fund (PIF) whereby PIF will acquire a 51% stake in Telecommunication Towers Company Limited (TAWAL) from STC. TAWAL is the largest towerco in Saudi Arabia and one of the largest in the region, with an enterprise value of $5.85 billion per the agreement. Subsequently, PIF and STC will consolidate TAWAL and Golden Lattice Investment Company (GLIC) – in which PIF holds a majority shareholding – into a new merged entity. The transactions are expected to be completed in the second half of 2024.

  • Unsavory "adult content" platforms Pornhub, Stripchat and XVideos will have to carry out risk assessment reports and more to comply with EU's Digital Services Act, according to a Reuters report. All three companies were designated as "very large online platforms" last year under the terms of the Act, a classification which brings with it specific obligations relating to online safety and transparency.

  • Openreach, the semi-autonomous network access arm of UK operator BT, has teamed up with bird conservation charity RSPB in a bid to minimize damage to wildlife habitats as it rolls out its fiber network. The charity will be able to offer Openreach specialist technical advice on issues such as how to deal with bats roosting in BT's buildings estate. Today's announcement coincides with what has been deemed Earth Day.

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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