'I'm not a quitter and I love my critics' – BT's Bonfield
Sir Pete is staying. Until the end of next year anyway
Sir Peter Bonfield, BT's CEO, told reporters this morning that he has not intention of leaving the beleaguered telecoms giant. "I'm not a quitter," he said. "I like working with the people here."
Asked if he would like to take a samurai sword to his critics, he said: "Critics are good - they chivvy us along. I would never criticise my critics." Probably just as well, or he'd never have time for anything else.
What about the nightmare of the last year, which has seen his two fellow board members kicked out and the share price plummet by 70 per cent? "It's been a very demanding year - in fact, it's been a very demanding few years. We're just going through an interesting time. It's just something you have to go through."
Asked whether he missed former chairman Sir Iain Vallance, who was booted out at the start of the month, Sir Peter remarked: "Change is often good and I think he'd be the first to say so. He's still a personal friend." Which is nice, especially considering that each of them was briefing the press against the other in order to keep their job.
Incidentally, while Sir Iain is now president emeritus of BT, the new chairman Sir Christopher Bland made it clear that he no longer has a decision-making role. "He has an office in this building but is no longer a part of BT." And that office may be gone soon as well if plans to sell off the central London HQ come to fruition.
So what of Sir Peter's future? He has signed a new contract which will finish at the end of next year. After that "it's then flexible. If the company wants me to continue then I can," Bonfield said.
So there you have it. ®