Jan du Plessis appointed as Chairman


BT Group plc is pleased to announce that Jan du Plessis will succeed Sir Mike Rake as Chairman.

BT Group plc is pleased to announce that Jan du Plessis will succeed Sir Mike Rake as Chairman. Jan will join the Board as a non-executive director from 1 June 2017 and become Chairman with effect from 1 November 2017 when Sir Mike will retire from BT, following 10 years as Chairman.

Jan has been Chairman of Rio Tinto since 2009. He has also held a number of other senior non-executive roles.These include as a director and Chairman of SABMiller from September 2014 and July 2015 respectively until October 2016, and as director and Senior Independent Director of Marks & Spencer from 2008 and 2012 respectively until March 2015.

Previously Jan was Group Finance Director of Richemont and Chairman at British American Tobacco.

Sir Mike Rake said: "I am delighted Jan has been chosen to succeed me as Chairman. Over the past 10 years, BT has made huge progress and we have transformed and expanded the business. Whilst clearly there are continuing challenges, the performance of the company remains on track. This gives me great confidence in its future and I wish Jan every success as he leads BT at this important time.”

Nick Rose who, as BT’s Senior Independent Director, led the planned succession process to appoint the new Chairman, said: “Our desire was to find someone with deep experience of leading high profile organisations and who would also have credibility with our key stakeholders. We ran a thorough process to ensure we identified the very best candidate to lead BT. Jan is the unanimous choice of the Board.”

Jan du Plessis said: “I am honoured to have been asked to become BT’s Chairman. BT is a great British company with excellent people and Mike has done an outstanding job as Chairman over the last 10 years. This is an important time for the company and I look forward to working with Gavin and his team to help BT continue to support Britain’s digital future.”

About Jan du Plessis

Jan has been Chairman of Rio Tinto since 2009 having joined the Board in 2008.He oversaw the appointment of a new CEO in 2013, as a consequence of Rio’s first-ever annual loss.Since then, Rio has delivered over £9 billion in shareholder returns, removed £4 billion of costs, whilst strengthening the balance sheet and rationalising the investment pipeline.

Until October 2016, Jan was Chairman of SABMiller, a role he took up in July 2015 having been with the company since September 2014.He led the negotiations for SABMiller’s £79 billion takeover by ABInBev.

Previously Jan was Director and Senior Independent Director of Marks & Spencer, from 2008 and 2012 respectively, until March 2015.Jan was a member of the Audit, Nominating and Remuneration Committees throughout.He was also a Director and Chairman of British American Tobacco from 1999 and 2004 respectively and Group Finance Director of Richemont.

Jan, aged 63, is a chartered accountant and is both a British and South African national.Jan is also a member of the European Round Table of Industrialists.