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BT's Danon Quits for Capgemini

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
11/25/2004

Pierre Danon, the CEO of BT Group plc's (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) Retail division, has quit to join IT services and systems integration firm Capgemini (see BT Retail CEO Quits).

Danon, who joined as CEO of BT Retail in October 2000 and joined the carrier's board in November 2001, will leave the U.K. incumbent early in 2005. He starts his new role as chief operating officer (COO) at Capgemini on March 1, where he will be responsible for the operational activities of 60,000 staff.

News of the Frenchman's impending departure follows rumors, strongly denied by BT's most senior management, of friction between Danon and other members of the BT board, particularly over the issue of local loop unbundling. BT chairman Sir Christopher Bland has described talk of boardroom unrest as "stupid" and "ridiculous" (see BT Faces 21st Century Dilemma).

Danon's departure comes at an awkward time for BT, as the Retail division strives to boost its share of the U.K. broadband market and its relationship with its network supplier, BT Wholesale, comes under severe scrutiny by the U.K. regulator, Office of Communications (Ofcom). (See BT Escapes Breakup – for Now.)

BT's share price fell by 1.75 pence, about 1 percent, to 193.25 pence in trading on the London Stock Exchange.

In a statement, BT said the Retail division had increased cashflow and profits, cut costs by £800 million ($1.51 billion) and built a strong management team under Danon's leadership.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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