Feeds

Patricia Hewitt joins BT as non-exec director

MP and telecom sitting in a tree

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Patricia Hewitt is to join BT later this month as a non-executive director, boosting her salary by a healthy £60,000.

The appointment of the former Secretary of State for both Trade and Health into one of Britain's largest private companies muddies the water between politics and business.

As a politician, Hewitt was closely involved with BT, although their relationship was not always cordial.

The Leicester West MP was instrumental in the creation of Ofcom, the all-in-one regulator for telecoms and the media, while she was head of the DTI. Not only did she help establish the Ofcom constitution, but she also appointed its chairman Lord Currie.

Ofcom took a far tougher approach to BT than its predecessor, Oftel. The regulator was quick to insist that BT must structurally separate its local loop division from the rest of the company; a brave move which left governments and regulators around the rest of the world watching with interest.

Hewitt was also responsible for relieving BT of nearly £5bn for its 3G licence at the height of the dotcom boom. It gave that licence up just one year later as it spun off its mobile activities, which became O2.

The Aussie-born 59-year-old was also closely involved with BT while she was Health Secretary.

During her tenure, BT won several contracts for the troubled NHS National Programme for IT, a multi-billion pound technology project for which the costs have spiralled.

Among its contract wins, BT won the right to build the national data spine, work which is much delayed and has been subjected to wide-ranging security concerns from privacy campaigners.

Major appointments of politicians into the business world are overseen by a parliamentary group, the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, which have approved Hewitt's move. She has, however, been asked not to lobby government until June - 12 months after she quit as Health Minister.

Hewitt already holds positions at two private companies: Boots, the high street chemist chain, and private equity company Cinven, which also has interests in the health sector through its ownership of BUPA's UK hospitals.

Through her additional three roles, she is guaranteed to remain firmly in the public spotlight as both a politician and a businesswoman. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Will BlackBerry make a comeback with its SQUARE smartphones?
Plus PC PIMs from company formerly known as RIM
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.