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back to article BT hands top job to Retail chief

BT has promoted its Retail unit boss Ian Livingston to CEO of the entire group. He'll succeed Ben Verwaayen at the end of May. Livingston has long been seen as CEO-in-waiting at BT. He inherits a company described by BT chairman Sir Michael Rake today as "thriving", but described by a major consumer survey as the worst phone …

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Why do they do it

BT seems to be rather lemming like by alienating customers. Charging to pay the bill, offshoring customer service to people who are incompetent, spying on broadband customers, unilaterally changing contracts etc. They forget that whilst many residential customers are stuck with them, every senior manager of a big company that could use BT in a big way may have a BT line at home or have relatives and friends who moan about BT to them. So whilst making us small people fed up they are indirectly sending a message to the few big companies that create 80% + of their income that they don't really care.

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But will he be able to TransPhorm(tm) BT?

I think not. Same old thing - exploit the customer, outsource customer service, sell out customers habits to advertisers for that little bit of money, downsize the workforce. Its no wonder BT is losing market share - its because they are terrible!

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Down the pan.

***"Dutchman Verwaayen joined BT in 2002 from communications hardware giant Lucent. He said: "Ian Livingston will lead the company from strength to strength when he takes over as CEO in June..""***

Not if he goes ahead with Phorm, he won't.

I'm wondering if BT and British Airways are in some kind of competition to see who can piss off the most customers in the shortest period of time.

About time we had an "evil Phorm" icon.

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Jobs Halo

You'll be able to surf down Newgate Street on the tears

Such will be the extent of the wailing and crying taking place across BT today.

Few CEOs, in any company, enjoy the affection and appreciation Verwaayen has enjoyed at BT.

Those are some big shoes for Livingstone to fill.

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Happy

BT have done an excellent job...

BT have done an excellent job... pandering to the whims of the Home Secretary to implement an infrastructure Hu Jintao himself would be proud of. Phorget what you think I'm about to say - it's impressive what has already been achieved through data retention laws and installation of passive taps and blocking technology in the name of anti-terrorism and child protection.

If any successive governments should decide on "protecting" its citizens from online content there is now a rigorous means to achieve this, as there is to monitor ALL digital communications.

Arise, Sir Ben. Job well done.

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Perhaps Livingstone will have a rethink on off-shoring

Verwaayen would brook no affront to the notion that having customers deal with offshore call-centre agents whose IT skills were on a par with their language proficiency was a splendid idea.

Yet at every BT event, in every line of business, and at every opportunity, senior management is told that BT customers hate them, BT colleagues despair of them, and the whole concept is utterly incompatible with BT's stated aim of being "number one for customer service by April 2009".

This is the one issue that was a complete and utter blindspot for Verwaayen. Perhaps Livingstone will see sense and announce a prompt repatriation of customer service functions to the UK.

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AC - Offshoring

Yes, people dislike overseas call centres. They are script driven and can't communicate naturally.

That's not to say they need to be brought back to the UK. They just need to empower staff at all levels to do the best for the customer.

I'm neither for nor against overseas call centres, just poor service.

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A pity

I have recently had dealings with Ben Verwaayen regarding the Phorm debacle. Though I am still suspicious of Phorm and will certainly opt out of any trials or rollout of this software (or swap ISPs if opting out includes a cookie) I must say that Ben Verwaayen's handling of my concerns was top rate. I will be sorry to see him go.

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Paris Hilton

Interesting - it's all taking Phorm

So... director of BT moves to Phorm

Boss of Retail (responsible for Phorm) moves to CEO

If i were BT, it would make sound business knowledge at this point to move nobody, and try to dig out of the hole they created with this Phorm rubbish!

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Fibre to the premises.

I stopped using BT for telephone calls some time ago for all the reasons others have given above, poor service, couldn't-give-a-s**t-attitude, etc.

If I got five minutes alone with Ian Livingston and could give him one piece of advice before he starts his new job it's that if he wants to keep myself and many others using BT (either retail, wholesale or both) for broadband then he really needs to start making the right noises as regards fibre to the home and office.

Time was BT was the only affordable broadband option for those not in cabled areas or connected to a LLU exchange but now that the major mobile phone companies are offering broadband services with half decent speeds at competitive prices BT could really see their monopoly crumble.

I know everyone is by now sick of the whole "who will pay for upgrading the last mile from copper to fibre" argument, I know I am. We'll just have to see how that one plays itself out, but that's not what I'd discuss with Mr Livingston.

What I'd discuss is a new policy for fibre and a new approach altogether. What I'd suggest is that as soon as it's technically and financially possible that all new connections to an exchange be made using fibre optic cable rather than copper. I know it used to be the case that copper was cheaper that fibre but since that isn't the case any more then that particular argument is gone. Ok, I'm sure there would be costs at each exchange where this was done but BT are a big company that make big profits year on year. Put it this way, I'm sure it wouldn't bankrupt them. It would certainly cost a fraction of the amount that upgrading all the old copper to fibre would cost.

My other advice would be that BT finally admit publicly that copper has had it's day, even if some of us are going to be stuck with it for years to come, just say what every tech savvy BT customer has known for years: fibre to the premises is far, far superior to copper. Then I might actually have some respect for the guy. I might even consider remaining a BT customer.

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Where Is He Off To...?

Do I sense another appointment to Phorm coming on...?

Sorry Paul, you may have had good dealings with him but my experience of BT and its alleged "service" goes back many years.

BT is still damaged goods as far as I am concerned.

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Anonymous Coward

Job Interviews at the Top

Q: Are you utterly inept and have recent examples?

A: Yes. I illegally sold customer data to a spyware company, further damaging this company's reputation.

Q: When can you start?!

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