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BT wireless appoints first chairman

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BT has appointed unemployed executive David Varney as chairman of BT wireless.

He will lead the mobile phone business through its demerger from the BT Group, which is planned for later this year.

Varney, 55, will become chairman-designate later this month and will work with BT management and BT wireless CEO, Peter Erskine, in the run-up to the split.

Varney left BG plc (the old British Gas monopoly) in October 2000 after spending four years as CEO. Since then he's basically been kicking his heels occupying his time with the string of positions execs of this status seem to collect.

For instance he is Vice-President of the Combined Heat and Power Association - a position worth its weight in oil should BT wireless' heating ever go on the blink. He's also VP of the Council of Surrey University and a member of the Public Service Productivity Panel.

His interests include motorsport, rugby, sailing and opera.

Perhaps his most valuable asset to BT is that he helped to demerge BG Group, something his old BG pal, Phillip Hampton (now FD of BT), knows all about.

Said Varney said: "The stakes are high in the mobile market. Establishing the new BT wireless company and building on its business success are challenges that I relish.

"The demerged BT wireless needs to be a flexible, nimble organisation alert to the opportunities in its marketplace," he said. ®

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