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Hewitt expands BT role

FORMER trade and health secretary Patricia Hewitt will become BT&rsquo;s new senior independent director, the telecoms giant said yesterday.<br />Hewitt, who takes up the new role next month, is expected to be a key contact for major institutional shareholders.<br /><br />The MP for Leicester West, who retires from Parliament at the next general election, has sat on the board of the company since last March. She was paid &pound;75,000 by BT last year, which is likely to rise to &pound;110,000 next year.<br /><br />Shareholders have expressed concerns about BT&rsquo;s &pound;4bn pension fund deficit, its halved dividend and its Global Services IT consultancy division, which posted an operating loss of &pound;2.04bn last year.<br /><br />Hewitt remains an adviser to Cinven, the private equity group, and Alliance Boots, the privately owned chemists chain.