BT has named Jan du Plessis as its new chairman, replacing Mike Rake who is retiring after more than a decade in the role.
Du Plessis joins BT from metal and mining firm Rio Tinto, where he has served as chairman since 2009.
He will join the board of the UK’s biggest telecoms group in June before assuming the top post on the 1st of November this year.
Du Plessis has held various high level roles in major companies, including SABMiller,
where he was chairman until October 2016, and as a director of retailer Marks & Spencer.
He has also served as finance director of Richemont, and as chairman of British American Tobacco.
Du Plessis, who is both a British and South African national, is also a member of the European Round Table of Industrialists.
Rake said over the past 10 years, BT has made huge progress and transformed and expanded the business.
Sir Mike Rake said: “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.”
Du Plessis said: “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.”
Du Plessis will face several immediate challenges at BT, as the company seeks to bounce back from a tough year, including an accounting scandal in Italy.
BT’s president of Continental Europe, Corrado Sciolla, resigned after the accounting scandal due to which the company’s profits have fallen by 37% to just £526m in the three months to 31 December 2016.