HomeCXO InterviewsBT adds McKinsey partner to board to help with strategy

    BT adds McKinsey partner to board to help with strategy


    One of the first moves by new CEO Allison Kirkby in her mission to improve BT’s fortunes and share price

    The Financial Times [subscription needed] reports that Allison Kirkby, BT Group’s new CEO, has appointed Tom Meakin (pictured) to the board as a temporary measure.

    Meakin is a Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company where his role is global co-leader of consumer tech and media. He is on secondment to BT to act as interim chief strategy and change officer until BT finds someone permanent for the role.

    According to Kirkby’s memo seen by the FT, she intends to set up a strategy and change unit to “define the next phase of our transformation” which will include enterprise-wise programmes.

    The new unit will comprise BT’s established corporate strategy and development, and group transformation and assurance teams.

    New broom, new strategy?

    In an interview at a TelecomTV event in December 2023, BT Group’s outgoing CEO, Philip Jansen said he felt one of his achievements at BT was “a crystal-clear strategy with a plan that everyone understands and that we’ve just got to execute really well and I don’t think we had that, for lots of reasons, when I arrived.”

    He added, ““In my five years…the board has never wavered on the strategy – investing a fortune on making the company better [with] stronger new networks, new IT, new technology, new digital interfaces everywhere across the whole company.

    “So that is working. Now the impact of that [level of investment] is that for one set of stakeholders, the shareholders, the share price has gone down. Now I personally think it will come back. And so the job is trying to balance all the different stakeholders

    Maybe not so much

    For BT watchers, this is an echo of a similar division led by Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer Mike Sherman. When he quit in January 2021, it was assimilated into a new Digital unit, led by Harmeen Mehta as Chief Digital and Innovation Officer.

    The Digital unit is responsible for IT, digital innovation, BT-wide business transformation, and data and product strategy.

    BT has worked with McKinsey on assorted projects over a number of years.

    Kirkby succeeded Jansen in February and has been a member of BT Group’s board for several years. One of her main concerns is to improve BT’s share price which has fallen about 17% since the start of 2024.