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Optical/IP

Top Team Changes at BT's 21CN

This week there's no shortage of news surrounding the most senior BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) executives involved in the carrier's £10 billion (US$19.8 billion) next-generation network (NGN) project, 21CN.

At the C5 event in Milan, Italy, Matt Beal, 21CN's program director, delivered one of the industry's quickest-ever slide presentations about BT's NGN plans. (See BT, Huawei Look Alive at C5.)

What Beal didn't tell his audience, though, is that he has been such a hit at the British carrier that he has been given a second job: He is now also the very first CTO of BT Wholesale, the division of the U.K. incumbent that's running the 21CN program. "It's a promotion," says a BT spokeswoman when asked about Beal's new title.

That appointment set some tongues wagging. The consensus among a few Euro telecom exec sources is that Beal is being primed to run BT Wholesale should the division's CEO, Paul Reynolds (possibly the tallest man in telecom), skip off to the other side of the world to become CEO of Telecom New Zealand Ltd. (NYSE: NZT; New Zealand: TEL), as rumored.

Reynolds has been a key figure in the 21CN process, not only as a key decision-maker and technology driver, but as the person who, following the initial outline of the 21CN plan in June 2004, almost single-handedly promoted the NGN plan and its signficance around the world at tradeshows and in the media. (See BT Moves Ahead With Mega Project and BT Sinks Its Teeth Into IP.)

BT, naturally, won't comment on the speculation that Reynolds might be leaving.

Another significant personnel issue is the return of Alan Nunn to the BT fold. Nunn quit his job as BT's chief voice architect about this time last year to join session border controller vendor Newport Networks plc (London: NNG) as its CTO. (See Newport Snares 21CN Exec.)

Newport's fortunes are such, though, that Nunn is now back in the bosom of BT's "Group CTO" office, and has bagged himself one of the job titles of the year: Head of Technology Realisation.

Now, that would be a job spec worth seeing…

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Realisation Editor, Light Reading

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