BT has appointed an executive from its own ranks to replace Howard Ford as managing director of Cellnet, paving the way for BT to assume total ownership of the mobile phone company under a Labour government.
Ford, one-time head of IBM?s European PC division, resigned abruptly earlier this month and is rumoured to be joining an independent leading edge telecomms company. His successor is Ray Smith, who has worked at BT since 1987. Most recently he was director of carrier services, responsible for managing BT?s relationships with other UK telecomms operators.
BT owns Cellnet jointly with Securicor but a Labour government would be expected to sanction its bid to purchase Securicor?s 40 per cent stake. Even though the security giant is known to be a willing seller, the Tory government fears total ownership of Cellnet by BT would hold back further opening up of competition in the mobile phone market.
Previously at BT, Smith has been responsible for residential calls and lines marketing businesses, and managed BT?s public switched telephony business. He has also held positions at CPC, the Knorr-Hellmans food conglomerate.
Stafford Taylor, managing director of BT?s personal communications division, said: ?Ray joins Cellnet at a time of great challenge in the cellular business and in the mobile market. I know he will bring to Cellnet the talents which he has shown in the retail and consumer products division.?
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