Wednesday, February 21, 2024
CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - CEO Opinions - U.K. telecom giant BT Group appoints Allison Kirkby as the company’s first female CEO

CEO Opinions

U.K. telecom giant BT Group appoints Allison Kirkby as the company’s first female CEO

Allison Kirkby
Allison Kirkby (IMAGE: BT Group)

U.K. telecom giant BT Group plc (“BT Group”), appointed Allison Kirkby, a board member and the chief executive of Swedish telecoms company Telia, as its first female chief executive, replacing Philip Jansen — who has been in charge for over four years.

Kirkby, a non-executive director at BT since 2019, will be the first female CEO of BT Group. Kirkby will be paid an annual salary of 1.1 million pounds ($1.4 million), plus a bonus of up to 200% of salary and other share awards, in line with Jansen’s remuneration.

Philip Jansen will remain chief executive until Kirkby takes over and he will be available to support the handover until the end of March 2024. At that point, he intends to retire from executive life.

Expressing enthusiasm about the role, Kirkby said: “I’m fully supportive of our strategy and am excited about leading it into its next phase of development, as we grow to support customers, shareholders, and the U.K. economy.”

Kirkby started her career by qualifying as a chartered management accountant in 1990 while at the drinks company Guinness. She then spent 20 years at consumer goods company Procter & Gamble before entering the telecoms industry with Virgin Media. She led the Swedish telecoms company Tele2 and Danish telecoms company TDC between 2015 and 2020.

Kirkby’s takeover as CEO next year will make her the 10th female CEO on the FTSE 100 list of chief executives, which dropped following the resignation of NatWest CEO Alison Rose.

The other female chief executives in the FTSE 100 are:

  1. Margherita Della Valle, chief executive of Vodafone
  2. Debra Crew at the world’s biggest spirits maker Diageo
  3. Amanda Blanc at the insurer Aviva
  4. Dame Emma Walmsley at the drugmaker GSK
  5. Jette Nygaard-Andersen at the gambling firm Entain
  6. Jennie Daly at the housebuilder Taylor Wimpey
  7. Milena Mondini de Focatiis at the insurer Admiral
  8. Louise Beardmore, at United Utilities, the UK’s largest listed water company
  9. Liv Garfield at former leader at BT’s Openreach subsidiary and chief executive at the water company Severn Trent

Allison will be paid in accordance with the Directors’ Remuneration Policy approved by shareholders on 13 July 2023 and in line with the current Chief Executive. Her remuneration will therefore consist of:

A salary of £1,100,000 per annum.

A cash allowance in lieu of pension of 10% of salary and other benefits in line with our Remuneration Policy.

An on target annual bonus of 120% of salary (with a maximum of 200%) subject to performance. Half of the annual bonus paid will be deferred into BT Group shares for a further three years with no additional performance conditions.

A long-term Restricted Share Plan (“RSP”) award of 200% of salary, which vests in three equal tranches three, four and five years after grant. She is required to hold all vested shares until five years after grant. Her first pro rata RSP award will be granted soon after becoming Chief Executive.

Allison will be required to build a shareholding of 500% of salary within five years.

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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - CEO Opinions - U.K. telecom giant BT Group appoints Allison Kirkby as the company’s first female CEO
Alexandra Dimitropoulou

Alexandra Dimitropoulou

VP and News Editor
Alexandra Dimitropoulou is a VP and News Editor at CEOWORLD magazine, working to build and strengthen the brand’s popular, consumer-friendly content. In addition to running the company’s website, CEOWORLD magazine, which aims to help CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, and other C-level executives get smarter about how they earn, save and spend their money, she also sits on the Board of Directors of the Global Business Policy Institute. She can be reached on email You can follow her on Twitter at @ceoworld.