Jan du Plessis will succeed Sir Mike Rake as chairman of BT.
He will join the board as a non-executive director from 1 June 2017 and become chairman with effect from 1 November 2017 when Sir Mike will retire from BT, following 10 years as chairman.
Du Plessis has been chairman of Rio Tinto since 2009. He has also held a number of other senior non-executive roles, including director and chairman of SABMiller from September 2014 and July 2015 respectively until October 2016, and as director and senior independent director of Marks & Spencer from 2008 and 2012 respectively until March 2015.
Previously Jan was group finance director of Richemont and chairman of British American Tobacco.
Sir Mike comments: “I am delighted Jan has been chosen to succeed me as chairman. Over the past 10 years, BT has made huge progress and we have transformed and expanded the business. Whilst clearly there are continuing challenges, the performance of the company remains on track. This gives me great confidence in its future and I wish Jan every success as he leads BT at this important time.”
Nick Rose who, as BT’s senior independent director, led the planned succession process to appoint the new chairman, says: “Our desire was to find someone with deep experience of leading high profile organisations and who would also have credibility with our key stakeholders. We ran a thorough process to ensure we identified the very best candidate to lead BT. Jan is the unanimous choice of the board.”
Du Plessis says: “I am honoured to have been asked to become BT’s chairman. BT is a great British company with excellent people and Mike has done an outstanding job as chairman over the last 10 years. This is an important time for the company and I look forward to working with Gavin and his team to help BT continue to support Britain’s digital future.”