BT carves up BT Retail operation into dedicated BT Business and BT Consumer arms

BT Retail is being split in half to create to two distinct businesses that will take it forward as it looks to reign supreme in the fibre-optic broadband market.

From September, BT Retail becomes BT Consumer and BT Business as the company looks to deliver on its two core strategic priorities: “Driving broadband-based consumer services” and “Being the brand for business for UK SMEs."

“BT Retail has delivered well for many years now contributing strong profits to the group. It is time however for the business to be split in two given the intensely competitive nature of the consumer market and our strong ambitions in the business space," explained Gavin Patterson, CEO of BT Retail.

John Petter, current managing director of BT Retail’s Consumer unit, will become CEO of BT Consumer, and Graham Sutherland, managing director of BT Retail’s Business unit, will take the reigns as CEO of BT Business.

Both men will report to Patterson, who takes over from Ian Livingston as BT Group chief executive in September. Patterson described Petter and Sutherland as “excellent leaders”.

BT’s place in the competitive high-speed broadband is one of the key reasons behind the new approach and Petter confessed to being “thrilled” at the chance to lead the BT Consumer branch of the firm.

“BT is in a four way tussle with Sky, Virgin and TalkTalk for broadband customers and we are at the start of an exciting journey with BT Sport. There has never been a better time to be a consumer and we plan to up the ante in the coming years,” he added.

Ofcom warned BT earlier this month that it must slash the cost of moving fibre-optic broadband provider it levies on rival companies in order to give customers more flexibility.

BT’s battle with BSkyB has become increasingly intense in recent months with the latter deciding to implement price rises for existing customers in the face of growing competition.