BT shops at Dixons for its new finance director

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The Independent Online

BT poached Ian Livingston from the consumer electronics retailer Dixons yesterday to be its new finance director, completing the overhaul of the board at the telecoms giant.

The 37-year-old, who takes over from the highly regarded Philip Hampton in April, will be paid £450,000 a year but could make nearly £5m over a three-year period. He will be the company's third finance director in less than two years and joins shortly after Ben Verwaayen, BT's new chief executive, took up his role and less than a year after Sir Christopher Bland replaced Sir Iain Vallance as chairman.

Mr Verwaayen said Mr Livingston's arrival would complete the "top team". BT shares finished down 4p at 232p.

Mr Hampton, who is quitting BT after a year and a half in the role, forfeits the right to a package of share and options worth more than £1m. He was paid £435,000 a year.

His resignation, announced in November, shocked the market as he had been widely credited with orchestrating BT's recovery and halving its debt to about £15bn. His decision also came just a week after the former chief executive, Sir Peter Bonfield, said he was quitting.

Mr Livingston, who has been at Dixons 11 years and became finance director in 1997, oversaw the flotation of Freeserve. Previously he worked at3i and at Bank of America International after qualifying as a chartered accountant.

His remuneration package includes a cash bonus of up to 75 per cent of salary, a £1.35m share package over three years, and performance related shares and options. In addition, BT will match any BT share purchases he makes before July up to a value of £300,000.

Mr Livingston is being replaced at Dixons by Jeremy Darroch, 39, who is promoted from retail finance director. Shares in Dixons closed up 1.25p at 220.25p.

Separately, BT confirmed it was considering a technology deal with Computacenter which, if signed, would see about 380 BT workers transfer to the IT group's payroll.

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