BT to axe 13,000 roles, squeeze suppliers and exit London HQ

BT has unveiled an overhaul of its business as full-year pre-tax profits jumped on revenues that slipped on account of the continued poor performance of its enterprise business.

The headline from a wide-ranging strategic review is that around 13,000 “mainly back office and middle management roles” are to go over the next three years.

BT said it wanted “fewer, bigger, more accountable leadership roles” and to “de-layer” its management structures.

To offset this news, the operator promised to hire around 6,000 new staff in network deployment and customer service roles.

The job cuts are part of a wider programme to achieve a cash cost reduction of £1.5 billion over the next three years.

To reach this target, BT is also targeting its supplier base, with a commitment to “consolidate” spend from the 18,000 companies it works with currently.

In addition, the operator plans to exit its headquarters in London and other non-specified locations in a bid to reduce so-called inefficiencies.

Moving forward, it said it planned to concentrate its operations on “around 30 modern strategic sites”.

The changes were “critical”, BT said, amid a myriad of industry changes – from new entrants to increased consumption and more stringent regulation.

On the product side, BT signaled the upcoming launch of converged fixed and mobile products for consumers.

For the enterprise market, it is targeting increased take-up of services including VoIP, unified communications, security and the IoT.

In terms of the network, the operator plans to invest £3.7 billion over the next two years on delivering a single integrated all-IP fibre network.

The strategy overhaul was announced as BT revealed its results for the year to 31 March.

Profits before tax jumped 11 percent to £2.62 billion on revenues that slipped one percent to £23.72 billion.

EBITDA, adjusted for specific items, fell two percent to £7.50 billion.

CEO Gavin Patterson said: "BT delivered a solid set of financial results in the fourth quarter, with growth in our consumer divisions offset by declines in our enterprise businesses, due to both challenging market conditions and our decision to exit lower margin business.

"We continue to invest for growth, having now passed 1.5 million premises with our ultrafast network and securing 40MHz of 3.4GHz spectrum suitable for 5G mobile services.

“We are improving our customer experience across the Group, with our key metrics of Group NPS and Right First Time both strongly up.”

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