BT hires new chief executive of struggling global services arm

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squo;S troubled global services division has appointed a fourth chief executive in as many years after current head Jeff Kelly, who returned the department to a degree of stability, chose to leave.

Kelly will be replaced by BT veteran Luis Alvarez at the start of next month, the company said yesterday. Alvarez has been with BT for 12 years, and is currently president of BT Global Services in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

The lossmaking division, which sells telecoms services to governments and large corporations, has become a headache for BT in recent years, swinging the company to a rare deficit in 2008-09.

Global services continues to hit BT’s finances as contracts dry up in European markets, although Kelly has been credited with stabilising the division in his two and a half years at the helm, with its losses stemmed significantly.

The 56-year-old American will continue as a parttime executive advisor when he returns to the US.

Ian Livingston, BT Group’s chief executive said: “Jeff has transformed BT Global Services and I would like to thank him for his contribution.

“BT Global Services is in a much better place than it was when Jeff joined us and I am delighted that he is staying on to advise us in his home market.”

Alvarez now becomes the fourth head of global services in four years. Kelly’s predecessor Hanif Lanali lasted only 15 months after he had taken over from Francois Barrault in 2008. Barrault had overseen a £1.3bn writedown after BT Global Services saw difficulties with two major contracts.

Alvarez said: “We have a strong business in the UK, mature operations in key economies and are expanding our presence in the fastest growing parts of the world. These are strong foundations that we will build on.”