BT share price: former HSBC executive named Openreach CEO

on Jan 14, 2014
Updated: Oct 21, 2019
Listen, Tuesday, January 14: BT Group (LON:BT.A) has appointed Joe Garner, the former head of HSBC’s (LON:HSBA) UK Bank, as the new CEO of Openreach, the unit responsible for its local access network (LAN) that delivers fibre broadband Internet across the UK. BT said in a statement yesterday afternoon that Garner will join in mid-February and will replace Liv Garfield, who is leaving to become CEO of water utility Severn Trent (LON:SVT).

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Garner, 44, spent eight years at HSBC, including two as head of the UK banking business until October 2012. He has also worked for retailer Dixons and consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble. BT has chosen Garner for his “substantial commercial, operational and regulatory experience”, praising him for helping lead HSBC through the financial crisis, rebuilding profitability and strengthening the balance sheet, as well as for achieving some of the highest customer satisfaction levels in high street banking and industry-beating levels of employee engagement.

BT Group CEO Gavin Patterson commented: “I am delighted to welcome Joe to the team. His experience of managing a large regulated business with a substantial workforce will help us as we expand our fibre optic network into rural areas.”
Garner has also served as chairman of the Financial Services Authority’s Practitioner Panel, a statutory body representing the interests of the financial services industry in the UK regulatory framework. His experience in dealing with regulators will be useful in his new role, as Openreach is one of Britain’s most heavily regulated businesses.

Openreach provides all communications providers with equal access to the former telecom monopoly’s network, but some of them have raised concerns that its service is poor. Last month, Britain’s telecoms regulator set new performance targets for Openreach, saying it would be fined if it does not fix broken telephone and broadband connections faster, following years of poor performance.

Commenting on his new role, Garner said: “The massive investment that Openreach is making in the UK’s high speed internet infrastructure is something of a revolution that will greatly benefit people and businesses in this country. […] I intend to focus on customer service, continued innovation and maintaining fair and equal access for all.”
Openreach is investing £2.5 billion in upgrading its network to bring fibre-based superfast broadband to two-thirds of the UK. It has passed more than 17 million premises with the technology and the roll-out continues.

**BT share price**

BT was one of the blue chip outperformers in 2013 with its share price surging 64 percent for the year compared to a 14.4 percent rise in the FTSE 100 index. Yesterday, BT’s share price closed mostly flat, while in today’s trading it has fallen 0.9 percent to 381.2p as at 10:35 UTC, compared to a 0.3 percent decline in the Footsie.
According to a survey of analysts published by Analyst Ratings Network, BT has a consensus rating of ‘buy’ and an average target price of 375.95p. Fifteen research analysts have a ‘buy’ rating on the stock, two have it as a ‘strong buy’, six have it as a ‘hold’, and two call it a ‘sell’.
**As of 10:20 UTC buy BT shares at 381.30p.**
**As of 10:20 UTC sell BT shares at 381.20p.**
Trade stocks with Hargreaves Lansdown from £5.95 per deal.
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