BT has ended several months of speculation by announcing that chief executive Ben Verwaayen will step down on 1 June to be succeeded by Ian Livingston, currently head of BT Retail.
Verwaayen has led BT for six years, during which time the company has undergone a transition from struggling UK incumbent telco to competitive communications provider.
Telecoms industry commentators agree that Verwaayen's policies, not least the relationship he established between BT and Ofcom, have played a large part in making Britain one of the most competitive broadband markets in the world.
Ofcom's Q3 2007 report found that just short of 15 million UK households and small businesses boast a broadband connection.
Verwaayen, who received an honorary knighthood in December 2007, has championed the environmental agenda and began the process of making BT carbon-neutral.
For example, a pilot green energy system featuring wind turbines and solar panels went operational today at BT's Colombo house in London with the aim of making the office a net contributor to UK renewable energy sources.
Livingston was appointed head of BT Retail in February 2005. He was BT group finance director from April 2002, having held the same position at Dixon Stores Group since 1997.
Telecoms analysts consider him a natural successor to Verwaayen.
"Along with Verwaayen and ex-chairman Sir Christopher Bland, Livingston was part of the trio that lead BT back from the abyss," said Mike Cansfield, telecoms strategy practice leader at Ovum.
"In our view the future of BT is inextricably linked with the successes of BT Retail."
Speculation about Verwaayen's future has circulated among BT employees and watchers for some months, with the favourite bet being on Verwaayen entering political life in his native Netherlands.
Rumours grew when his house was featured for sale in Country Life earlier this year.
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