Wednesday, 08 April 2020

BT’s CEO Philip Jansen tests positive for coronavirus

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Friday 13 March 20

After testing positive last night, the head of BT Group announced he would be self-isolating

BT Group has today announced that its CEO, Philip Jansen, is currently set to work remotely after being diagnosed with coronavirus. “Having felt slightly unwell, I decided as a precaution to be tested. As soon as the test results were known I isolated myself at home…

BT Group has today announced that its CEO, Philip Jansen, is currently set to work remotely after being diagnosed with coronavirus.

“Having felt slightly unwell, I decided as a precaution to be tested. As soon as the test results were known I isolated myself at home,” said Jansen in a released statement.
 
According to Jansen, this will have no effect on the running of the company, as he will be able to work effectively from home.
 
"Given my symptoms seem relatively mild, I will continue to lead BT but work with my team remotely over the coming week. There will be no disruption to the business," he said.
 
The statement from BT said that all precautions were being taken to sterilise the company headquarters and employees that have had recent contact with Jansen are being “appropriately advised”. 
 
This is potentially significant, since Jansen recently met with the UK Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, as well as the leaders of O2, Vodafone, and Three UK.
 
The announcement marks the first major telecoms figure – indeed, the first FTSE 100 CEO – to publicly announce having caught the disease.
 
So far, the UK’s response to the growing pandemic is asymmetric to the rest of Europe, not yet mandating the closure of large meeting spaces, such as schools and concerts. The Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in a speech yesterday that the UK was advancing its strategy against the COVID-19 pandemic, shifting from the containment phase to the delay phase. Johnson asked all those displaying even mild symptoms to self-isolate for at least a week.
 
We wish Philip Jansen well and hope for a speedy recovery. 
 
EDIT: It has since been announced that the CEOs of Vodafone, Three and O2 will self-isolate as a precautionary measure, though the Culture Secretary will not.
 
 
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