BT external comms chief Dan Thomas steps down following major restructure

BT group head of external comms Dan Thomas is leaving the role to set up his own consultancy, following a restructure at the telecoms giant that has led to around 60 redundancies.

Thomas (pictured), who is set to leave BT at the end of the month, has worked at the company for 10 years, joining as senior press officer.

The former journalist said his successor is close to being appointed to the role, which involves leading a team of 11 managing BT’s corporate, financial PR, regional news, corporate social responsibility and TechLiteracy comms activities.

Thomas said he plans to launch his new consultancy in December or January after a three-month sabbatical travelling in South East Asia and writing a book.

He said: "I’ve spent the last 21 years working with telecoms, technology and media brands in-house, at PR agencies and as a journalist, so I’m looking to build on my experience and knowledge in this area. During my time at BT, and writing for The Wall Street Journal Europe and FT, I’ve also built up strong expertise in financial and corporate PR, as well as crisis communications – so using this FTSE100 experience will be another key area of focus for my consultancy.

"I’ve had a fantastic ten years at one of the UK’s most well-known companies, that’s never out of the press. I’ve worked on major projects including the launch of BT Sport and the £12.5bn acquisition of EE, as well as communicating 40 sets of financial results. I’m now keen to take this experience and help other tech and telecoms companies build their brands and reputation."

Thomas has stayed to help set the new corporate comms structure with director of corporate affairs Ed Petter and director of external comms Tom Engel.

The restructure of BT’s corporate affairs team, reported by PRWeek earlier this year, was completed at the end of June and saw the workforce reduced by around 60 people, or 20 per cent.

Comms functions that had previously been dispersed across BT were brought into a single, central team. 

BT also created a new team for planning campaigns, and a single consumer division was assembled from the merger of BT’s consumer business, which includes Plus Net, and EE.

Staff changes in recent months have included the appointment of former David Cameron aide Gabby Bertin, while an expanded role was given to Mat Sears, director of comms at group brand EE, alongside other internal promotions.

The comms restructure happened against wider changes at the firm, which announced in May it would cut around 13,000 jobs overall as part of the three-year programme. The following month, BT announced that CEO Gavin Patterson is to step down once a successor is found amid investor concerns about the direction of the business.

Last month BT faced a shareholder rebellion over Patterson's £2.3m pay packet, with more than one third of investors voted against the remuneration report.

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