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back to article Ex-BT boss bags £9 MILLION bye-bye bundle, moves to key gov post

BT's former boss Ian Livingston just received an extremely generous leaving present from the telecoms giant – 2.6 million shares in the company worth about £8.9m. Earlier this month, Livingston left BT for his new, unpaid job in the House of Lords as Prime Minister David Cameron's Minister of State for Trade and Investment. The …

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Unhappy

Wonder what remuneration committees for the members of that committee he sits on.

You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.

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Trollface

Re: Wonder what remuneration committees for the members of that committee he sits on.

At least he will now have spare time to write some more Fighting Fantasy books!

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Re: Wonder what remuneration committees for the members of that committee he sits on.

When Ian Livingstone was awarded a CBE earlier in the year, The Guardian initially referred to him as both the CEO of Eidos and a former boss of BT!

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Flame

(Almost) lost for words.

Executive pay has become a f***ing obscenity. There is no valid reason for such outrageous salaries, even less for a departure present equal to ten years' salary.

And they wonder why we have such contempt for them...

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Re: (Almost) lost for words.

The fact of the matter is that he was in charge of a HUGE business and for the size of company he was on the lower half of the scale, I don't see what there is to complain about?

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Re: (Almost) lost for words.

A HUGE national almost monopoly with no real competition with automatic government contracts -

It's not like he turned Apple around is it ?

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Re: (Almost) lost for words.

I don't see what there is to complain about?

That more than half of the buggers make even more? While the poorest in the land have their benefits cut because the benefits office have a quota of how many they must cut regardless of circumstances?

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Devil

@LyleS

So you can pay a man more than most of us will get in a lifetime - and it's OK, because all the other greedy buggers in a similar position are equally venal?

So Fred Goodwin's pay was OK and justified 'cos all other bankers were equally greedy - and also equally criminally incompetent?

Jeez, and to think that those who hold that opinion actually have the vote - or will have, when they grow up!

That;s scary.

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Holmes

@ LyleS - Re: (Almost) lost for words.

Wrote :- "The fact of the matter is that he was in charge of a HUGE business and for the size of company he was on the lower half of the scale, I don't see what there is to complain about?"

Makes no difference how large the company is. In larger companies there are more directors and managers to share the load. At the top you are basically playing a board game of the more boring type, just collecting points with not much chance of losing.

I have been close to the top of a very large company, close enough to see some of what these people do. Authorising the spending of millions in the context is not much different an experience from spending thousands in a small company, and you do not need to be particularly clever to do it. You certainly do not need technical or financial knowledge - you have advisors for that. The chairman I knew did what committees of people like me advised them to. As one director said to me once, off the record, these organisations have such momentum that they would carry on, much as they do already, even if you tried to sabotage them.

The only hard part (it would be for me anyway) is that at any moment you can have a TV news camera thrust in your face and shot difficult questions. I could not handle that well, but there are plenty of people who could - and relish it. You need to be a bit of an actor, as does a politician. And no-one is irreplacable.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: (Almost) lost for words.

So much for social mobility and all that.

It's all rewards for success, rewards for failure, rewards for having the right parents (rich and in the loop).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: (Almost) lost for words.

"rewards for having the right parents (rich and in the loop)."

His dad was a GP. Are you sure you're not confusing him with someone else?

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Anonymous Coward

Commas!!!

« 2.6 million shares in the company worth about £8.9m. »

What is worth £8.9m? The 2.6 million shares or the whole company?

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Anonymous Coward

Good man.

It's very difficult to run a monopoly and make a profit, especially one with special tax concessions on fiber meaning you can undercut anyone brave enough to try and lay fiber to compete. He deserves every penny.

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Re: Good man.

Successful monopoly is successful. Troll like wise!

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Re: Good man.

"He deserves every penny."

Good, good, let the cynicism fill you with its power.

Welcome to the Snark side of the Force!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good man.

Seemingly quite hard as the company nearly went bust twice in under ten years before he took over. Pension commitments still might do for it yet. The share price has gone from 60p to 344p during his time in charge so the shareholders seem to have got fairly good value out of his pay.

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Terminator

Re: Good man.

"Good, good, let the cynicism fill you with its power.

Welcome to the Snark side of the Force!"

Indeed. The sarcasm is strong in this one.

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Good grief...................... Come the revolution.....!!

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Anonymous Coward

Indeed. It's about time people with skills got more money rather than people who claim to have responsibility for their decisions when in fact they get paid even when they fail.

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Anonymous Coward

"Major Contribution" ?

>>His "major contribution" to the company's turnaround.<< In my experience BT are worse than ever..what exactly has he turned around ? Just squeezing a bit more money out of customers with the shoddy service that BT provide? Captain Pugwash would have done a better job. (Anonymous as I'm a poor BT monopoly customer with zero choice & don't want the monkeys loose with a pair of cutters)

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Anonymous Coward

One more revolution

... of the revolving door between corporations and government.

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Anonymous Coward

Now I understand!

why BT have started charging us, ryanair-fashion, extra fee for "low usage" of our landline (low usage, since we use 18185 to avoid high BT calling charges). Anyway, it's all for a good cause, to support lord Livingstone, I presume.

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What He Got Wrong

1. Failed to oversee Global Services division while they were busy making a £100 million loss

2. Failed to get the land round Adastral Park sold (worth £300 million (at least) if planning permission is granted for the 2000 houses they want to erect next to an extremely sensitive European Protected Area.

3. Failed to sell Adastral Park itself (very likely that's their end game for AP which they no longer need or use)

4. Failed to see or deal ith the huge operational issues arising out of closing BT's own software development (who knew what they were doing, sort of) and shipping the work offshore to people who have no clue how BT's internal systems quirk (sic).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What He Got Wrong

I certainly agree about AP as I worked there until recently. It's shabby, pretty run down and most of the "magic" was closed down/sold off/moved out years ago. It's now a graduate software mill and a dumping ground for short-term contractors with little obvious purpose i.e. I honestly couldn't tell you what half of them do or what they're there for. There are some general security ops going on and some jaded old hands supporting old PSTN kit but that's about it.

Sell it, move out, move on. People hate visiting due to its awkward location and iffy transport links, an awful lot of people working there hate living in the vicinity as Ipswich is somewhat of a hole and rural Suffolk has less than sod all going for it.

Replacing Dollis Hill with something on East London wasteground would have been more sensible than Nowhere Suffolk. Closer to BT's three Central London nerve centres and more appealing and sensibly located for the talent needed to work there. Might be worth considering and build something remarkable for what BT REALLY needs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What He Got Wrong

I still work there, hence the cowardice. Under Livingston, the company is profitable & has made huge strategic investment in infrastructure and TV content. However we now have a distribution-driven Performance Management system that makes work a very unpleasant place at times. We used to have genuinely world-leading experts (eccentricities & all), but nowadays it's mainly about Powerpoint & 'business impact'.

Perhaps this is what defines a successful company (McKinsey's recommendations on Organisational Health appear to indicate that our levels of 'churn' are too low), but we've recently had a load of new grads for induction, & I whilst I'm happy for them finding jobs, part of me's sad that the company probably won't foster in them the pride in working for BT that I used to feel. Maybe old people have always felt like this.

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Happy

Re: What He Got Wrong

"but we've recently had a load of new grads for induction, & I whilst I'm happy for them finding jobs, "

Ah, a fresh meat delivery.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What He Got Wrong

Haha Performance Management, I remember that. Basically people doing things for brownie points and the sake of having something to write about to try and get a good rating hence bonus, rather than actually trying to do a good job "just because" and taking pride in their work. Such a daft system which took up far too much staff time and was frequently and blatantly gamed. Everyone also lies on their CARE surveys because telling the truth led to witch hunts.

But yes, Livingston really turned it around and despite what others are saying in these comments, he always was and remains extremely popular among regular BT staff. People will never forgive Peter Bonfield for the share price rollercoaster and nobody anywhere in the business has a good word to say about Ben Verwaayen.

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WTF?

Impartial minister...?

Surprised not much has been made of "...unpaid job in the House of Lords as Prime Minister David Cameron's Minister of State for Trade and Investment" along with "(payoff of) 2.6 million shares (in BT)".

I'm sure that the advice he gives government regarding the Communications Infrastructure within Britain will be completely impartial given those facts.

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Facepalm

DOTD

After reading this news, today's Dilbert leaves a strange feeling of déjà-vu...

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