Today saw a fairly extraordinary bust-up at the top of one of Britain’s grandest institutions, a saga that has exposed its inner workings and embarrassed nearly everyone.
Ok, so BT can’t beat the Royal Family for drama, but it did have a fair go. (BT is a Royal Warrant holder, as it happens).
The telecom giant’s statement to the stock exchange this morning is unlike almost any I have ever read.
It follows a cracking story on Sky News which said that CEO Philip Jansen and chairman Jan du Plessis had fallen out, and that Jansen said he would go if his chairman stayed.
BT’s statement denying this reads as if it was dictated by a peeved chairman who forced his board to say they are “very sorry he will be leaving”, that “there has been no misalignment” over strategy and that any suggestion otherwise is “without foundation”.
BT isn’t saying much beyond the statement, but here is my take:
1) The story is true.
2) Denying it so publicly just gives it legs.
3) The board almost certainly ignored the advice of whichever PR experts it consulted before releasing the statement.
You could think that big companies will at least learn from all this and handle it better next time.
On the available evidence – not usually.
Nearly all income-paying investment companies held or increased their dividend despite the pandemic, says this from the AIC.
The UK Equity Income sector wasn’t the strongest performer, but it still did pretty well.
It’s a comprehensive survey, with strong data.