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British Telecom CEO to Step Down

October 31, 2001

LONDON (AP) _ British Telecom PLC chief executive Sir Peter Bonfield is to step down at the end of January, the company said Wednesday.

He will receive a package of $2.2 million in salary, bonus and benefits, as well as stock worth another $420,000 over three years, depending on company performance.

``This is the right time to announce a change,″ said Bonfield, who has held the post since 1996.

Shares of BT, which said it was looking for a successor, jumped 5 percent on the news before falling back to 342 pence ($5.06), up 5 pence, or 1.5 percent in afternoon trading.

``You have got to see this as good news,″ said Chavan Bhogaita, a financial analyst at Bear Stearns. ``I think people see it as a chance for the company to start afresh and get some new blood in.″

Bonfield had been scheduled to step down at the end of 2002.

A former state-owned monopoly, BT has struggled as Vodafone Group PLC and other mobile operators have grabbed large chunks of the British market. It hopes to regain its edge by slashing the debts it acquired by buying stakes in several overseas firms and paying for costly third-generation mobile phone licenses in Europe.

``My legacy is that the structure of the company is completely different from the structure when I took over,″ Bonfield said. ``We took some risks _ some of them paid off.″

Earlier this month BT and AT&T Corp. announced they were shutting down Concert, their money-losing international joint venture created three years ago to serve business customers.

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