Cable & Wireless is hurtling towards its own end-of-March deadline

Cable & Wireless is hurtling towards its own end-of-March deadline for appointing a new chief executive amid mounting speculation that the company will succumb to a merger with BT.

BT has refused to comment on the issue, but City sources say the group remains determined to snap up C&W. City sources believe BT approached its rival at the end of last year, shortly after C&W was plunged into turmoil with the abrupt departure of Lord Young, its chairman, and James Ross, chief executive.

The shortlist for the chief executive role at C&W is thought to include Joe Natchio, a high-flyer at AT&T. But there is also a view that the search has ground to a halt because of the rumours about BT.

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